Tag Archives: Westinghouse

As Georgia regulators ponder Vogtle’s future, more revelations emerge about its doomed twin in South Carolina

Westinghouse-AP-1000by Tom Baxter
11/13/17 ATLANTA: From a design point of view, the nuclear projects at Plant Vogtle and the V.C. Summer site in South Carolina were identical. They were to be the first in a new generation of U.S. nuclear reactors, the Westinghouse AP1000s, cheaper, easier to build and safer than their predecessors.

After years of costly delays, the fate of the two projects diverged last summer, when the South Carolina utilities funding the Summer project pulled the plug on it, just days after the Georgia Public Service gave the go-ahead for continuing construction at Vogtle, despite the bankruptcy of Westinghouse.

The impact of the Westinghouse debacle has been felt more sharply in South Carolina, where a substantially smaller population of ratepayers is shouldering the enormous costs. One result of this has been a very productive competition between Columbia’s The State and Charleston’s The Post and Courier, both of which have been aggressive in reporting on the regulatory failures that accompanied the engineering blunders on the road to ruin for the Summer project.

Last week, as the Georgia Public Service Commission was holding four days of hearings on the future of the Vogtle project, portable devices were buzzing with the fruits of that effort.

Read the whole article: Saporta Report

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Time to decide if you pay more for Georgia’s nuclear debacle

by Matt KempnerVogtle_ajc_8-3-17
11/3/17 ATLANTA: Don’t read beyond this sentence if you don’t pay a power bill in Georgia and never will.

Otherwise, get your wallet out.

There’s a bit of show biz about to start Monday in hearings with elected state regulators. When it’s over, it’s likely to end up costing you and your Georgia descendents for decades to come.

That’s because the only giant, deeply delayed, steeply over-budget nuclear power construction project still underway in the U.S. may well get another wink and pat on the back from Georgia regulators.

So far, Georgia politicians have failed to enact significant consumer protections that would limit a government-enforced monopoly (Georgia Power) from sidestepping the vast majority of risk while raking in extra (extra!) profits on the overruns for the company’s Plant Vogtle expansion.

Elected members of the Georgia Public Service Commission start the first of four days of hearings Monday. It’s Round One in what on paper could be a momentous decision after years of complex construction plagued by unfinished designs, incomplete scheduling, flawed parts and workmanship, insufficient oversight early on and too much worker downtime.

The PSC accepted the setbacks, missteps and busted budget in the past. But now PSC members are faced with their first go/no-go vote since originally approving the project in 2009. That’s because the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the project’s main contractor, throws significantly more risk and cost into the mix.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Georgia Power vs. the law of holes

Plant-Vogtle-construction-2014by Lyle Harris
10/16/17 ATLANTA Georgia Power is likely to get another shot-in-the-arm after announcing plans to complete construction on those ill-fated nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro.

A more appropriate response to this epic boondoggle, of course, would be a swift kick in the pants. But don’t count on it.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has scheduled hearings on November 6 to discuss the troubled project, Along with the Southern Company (Georgia Power’s corporate parent) and the smaller utilities that are partners on the Plant Vogtle expansion, there’s little reason to worry about some silly old hearings. While the PSC is ostensibly charged with balancing the interests of the utility with those of its customers, the scales are reliably tipped in Georgia Power’s favor.

The planned reactors at Plant Vogtle were supposed to be up and running by now but they’re only about one-third complete. A series of major snafus and setbacks (including the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric which designed and was building the reactors) has increased chances that Georgia households will be picking up more of the tab.

Read the whole article: Saporta Report

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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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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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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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