Now, regulators say they are concerned that some parts, such as valves and pumps, have been sitting so long without effective maintenance that they won’t work or will be out of warranty, adding more costs.
And in order to meet the project’s already pushed-back timeline, the company is taking approaches “inconsistent with Staff’s collective experience in nuclear construction and large plant construction.”
Those maneuvers — including premature focus on systems testing before more construction is finished — could raise the risk of further delays, according to the PSC staff.
Critical equipment could be damaged if it is operated during testing without all the instruments and safety features that would be present with a complete system, it warned. Staff also raised concerns about bottlenecks of workers, which the company has tried to avoid by using a larger night shift.
Other concerns include higher worker absentee rates and much lower than planned productivity rates for mechanical and electrical trades.
Still, regulators concluded that if the company manages to complete the project on its latest schedule there is “a chance” it won’t go over budget again, in part because Georgia Power’s latest estimate includes $1.4 billion in contingency funds.
Staff also wrote that planning schedules include more data and that "generally sound" methods were used by Southern Nuclear Company to evaluate the project's future costs and timing. SNC, like Georgia Power, is part of Atlanta-based Southern Company.