Author Archives: Glenn

‘Idle’ workers cited at delayed Vogtle nuclear power project

Unknownby Matt Kempner
6/16/17: Add “idle” workers to the list of troubles at Georgia Power’s struggling nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle.

Construction workers are supposed to be toiling away on the project that’s already three years behind schedule and falling farther behind.

But a state monitor recently testified that “idle time, early quits and late starts remained high” among construction workers on the first new-from-scratch U.S. nuclear energy project in 30 years.

“Low productivity has been a continuing issue,” according to written testimony by the construction monitor, William Jacobs, and Steven Roetger, a Georgia Public Service Commission staffer assigned to oversight of the project. They cited reviews by a consultant for the project’s contractor.

Attempts to improve the pace of work had little effect on productivity in the last year, they added. In fact, crucial parts of the construction have faced growing delays.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Vogtle completion ‘uneconomic,’ Ga. PSC consultants say

moneyreactors-300x300by  Colby Bermel
6/13/17: Consultants to the Georgia Public Service Commission said June 8 that Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC’s bankruptcy has “invalidated” Georgia Power Co.’s cost calculations at its Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant and it would be “uneconomic” to complete the plant’s expansion.

The consultants also said that if Georgia Power were to continue construction, the Southern Co. subsidiary will spend $3 billion more on Vogtle than what it predicted in a recent report and the plant’s new units will go online three years later than the company anticipates.

Philip Hayet and Lane Kollen, both vice presidents and principals at J. Kennedy and Associates in Roswell, Ga., submitted written testimony to the commission on behalf of its Public Interest Advocacy Staff. The state agency is conducting a review of Georgia Power’s $222 million in Vogtle construction costs during the second half of 2016 for the Vogtle Construction Monitoring Report, or VCM.

Read the whole article: S&P Global Market Intelligence

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Millions collected from schools, taxpayers for Vogtle construction

2812409_web1_Plant-Vogtleby Thomas Gardiner

6/11/17: Since 2009, Georgia Power customers have been paying up front for construction costs at the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion.

Some public entities will have paid more than $1 million for construction before a single kilowatt hour of energy is generated by the expansion.

Georgia Power extended its interim agreement with Westinghouse by 24 hours recently to give the two companies time to finalize a transition agreement as the utility company takes over in the wake of the Westinghouse bankruptcy. That bankruptcy was fueled by cost overruns at the Plant Vogtle and VC Summer nuclear expansion projects.

According to legislation passed in 2009, Georgia Power shall collect costs related to nuclear construction financing and interest to support the plant’s construction, even though the project failed to meet its operational deadline in 2016.

Read the whole article: Savannah Morning News

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PSC Commissioner Moves for Georgia Power to Stop Collecting Nuclear Tax

bubba-2by Gloria Tatum
6/11/17 (APN) ATLANTA — Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald (District 4) filed a motion to give Georgia Power ratepayers a break by asking the company to suspend collecting the nuclear construction tax, or CWIP.

But it had as much chance as a snowball in hell of being honored by the PSC or Georgia Power.  The Commission voted to hold the motion and refer it to the Georgia Attorney General for an opinion, in a four to one vote on June 06, 2017.

“I move that the Commission request that the Company voluntarily agree that as of July 1, 2017, it will stop collecting any financing charges under the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) tariff,” McDonald’s motion read.

“Effective July 1, 2017, the Company will utilize Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC) accounting treatment on the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) balance of all Unit 3 and 4 capital costs,” the motion stated.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News

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Southern’s path to ‘first’ new reactor filled with pitfalls

image_asset_18775by Kristi Swartz
6/8/17: Southern Co.’s nuclear expansion project in Georgia was behind schedule even before it got started.

Contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission grappled with design changes for the new AP1000 technology, delaying the agency’s issuance of the major construction license by four months in 2012.

They’ve never been able to catch up.

The delay was small at the time because Southern’s Georgia Power unit and the contractors said they could make up the time in some way. What’s more, the schedule slip meant little compared with the broader story: Georgia Power was restarting the nuclear industry after 30 years with Plant Vogtle.

The twin reactors would start producing electricity in 2016 and 2017.

Read the whole article: E&E News

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GEORGIA: Sinking into the Vogtle Vortex

The expansion of a Georgia nuclear power plant that fired up dreams for a carbon-free nuclear renaissance in the U.S. has turned into a quagmire of setbacks, financial woes, uncertainty and frustration.
Protest_smby Pam Wright
5/23/17: Cornelia Stumpf has had enough.

The Savannah resident joins more than 2 million other Georgia Power customers who collectively pay a reported $23 million a month for the construction of two new and highly controversial nuclear reactors that may never produce a single kilowatt of energy.

The new reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, 30 minutes south of Augusta, were the first approved in the U.S. in 30 years, and they were expected to revive the nation’s nuclear power industry, ushering in an era of carbon-free energy to help control climate change. But the expansion at Plant Vogtle has become an expensive boondoggle for the company and its customers.

“What is upsetting to me is, in the end, I’m just one person and it’s added up to $700 in the six years since they began charging it,” says Stumpf, a conscientious consumer of energy who is speaking from her office on a 90-degree afternoon in May with the air conditioner off.

Georgia Power, a subsidiary of the Southern Company, implemented the 7 percent surcharge in 2011 after lawmakers gave the utility permission to charge customers for the construction of the project. The charge appears on consumer’s bill as “Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery.” So far Georgia Power has reportedly collected nearly $2 billion from the surcharge.

Read the whole article: The Weather Channel

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Georgia Power profits off Plant Vogtle construction despite cost overruns, delays, and contractor bankruptcy

Vogtle_construction17by Anne Maxwell
WAYNESBORO, Ga. 5/8/17: The construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle is years behind schedule and billions over budget. Last month, the contractor, Westinghouse Electric, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Plant Vogtle employees hundreds of people in Burke County and the temporary contract with Westinghouse expires Friday, which means the project’s future after that is up in the air.

An attorney for Georgia Power, which is one of the main owners of Plant Vogtle, has said all options are on the table. They could totally shut down the project, or build only one of the two reactors they are currently constructing. There has also been talk of converting it to a natural gas plant, but it is not clear whether that would be economical. Or they could continue building despite even higher costs.

But no matter what happens, Georgia Power is still going to make a profit.

Read the whole story and see video: ABC News Channel 6 wjbf.com

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Activists Seek Emergency PSC Hearing to Reconsider Vogtle Reactors 3, 4

cwip-protestby Gloria Tatum
(APN) ATLANTA 4/24/17— On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Glenn Carroll, Director of Nuclear Watch South (NWS), filed a request for an emergency public hearing with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to seek relief for ratepayers from the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) tax on customers’ electric bills.

Georgia Power ratepayers have been paying in advance for the construction of Plant Vogtle nuclear reactor units 3 and 4 since 2009, because of the Georgia Legislature’s approval of CWIP via Senate Bill 31, which subverts the traditional ratemaking process and undermines the notion of Georgia Power shareholders taking any risk.

Read the whole story: Atlanta Progressive News

 

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Vendors line up to demand returns from Westinghouse

Vogtle_eye_viewby Kristi E. Swartz
4/20/2017: Roughly 30 vendors have asked Westinghouse Electric Co. to return $35 million in materials and products that the mega-contractor ordered for four nuclear reactors in Georgia and South Carolina before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, documents show.

At issue are “reclamation of claim” letters, which are routine during a matter of bankruptcy. Broadly, they allow vendors to ask that unpaid materials and goods ordered within 45 days of a bankruptcy filing be set aside and returned.

Read the whole story: E&E News

 

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Cost of Westinghouse collapse turns up heat on Scana, Southern

summer

by Kristi Swartz
4/14/17: Scana Corp. executives might extend a contract with Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC as the utility decides whether to complete its multibillion-dollar nuclear power expansion in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, Southern Co.’s Georgia Power unit has yet to decide whether it needs more time to figure out how to proceed with its twin reactors under construction in Georgia.

Read the whole story: E&E News

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