By Kristi E. Swartz
02/18/2022 Southern Co. yesterday announced another delay for its long-troubled nuclear construction project in Georgia, edging its costs closer to the $30 billion mark.
The setback could now push the startup date for Plant Vogtle’s first reactor until early 2023 and move the date for the second one to later that year. The costs for Plant Vogtle’s two reactors have now risen to the point that Southern should absorb every dollar instead of sharing that burden with the other developers — and passing it on to customers.
Plant Vogtle’s latest move highlights the nuclear industry’s chief troubles with building large, baseload reactors: safety and cost. To be clear, Southern executives have blamed this new hiccup on paperwork, saying that workers were gathering it to send to federal safety regulators and noticed critical inspection records were missing or incomplete.
The pile of missing or incomplete documents added up to a delay of three to six months, Southern said. That additional time is costing $920 million.
“We’re a little frustrated with the latest developments,” Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning said yesterday in an interview. “[The first unit] is on the doorstep of loading fuel and going into service.”
Fanning talked of “great momentum” at the construction site since November. He said the company was looking forward to receiving the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s permission to load fuel rods into the reactor, the last major step before it can start producing electricity.
But workers realized “tens of thousands” of critical documents were missing, leading to a three-month backlog, Fanning said. Officials have cut that time down by 30 percent, he added.
“We’re fixing that part of the ‘paper’ process,” he told E&E News.
Read the whole article: E&E News