By - Michael Drost

Georgia PSC: More delays for Plant Vogtle

vogtle

Energize Weekly, May 20, 2015

Regulators say that further delays are possible for two new reactors being built at Southern Co.’s Plant Vogtle nuclear facility, which are already three years behind schedule.

Two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are currently being built at the Plant Vogtle site. The first reactor was supposed to become operational in April 2016, with the second reactor starting a year later, however the consortium building the plant, Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., said in January that the construction schedule would be delayed at least three years.

That official schedule may be premature, according to an analysis done by nuclear engineer Williams Jacob Jr. and other staff at the Georgia Public Service Commission and obtained by the Associated Press. The report says that the lengthened schedule has missed critical deadlines, such as a two-month delay in the timeframe to get a large section of the plant hoisted into place, and that there is a “high probability” that the reactors will be delayed even longer.

“Additional delays have a high probability of being realized which would extend the units’ in-service dates beyond the total current delay of 39 months,” according to the analysis. The report cited the continued struggle of the contractors to manage the proposed schedule and inability to adapt to changes in the timeline.

Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co. and co-owner of the plant, recently acknowledged that its contractor had missed several deadlines.

“The contractor expects to and has committed to recover the schedule, as all construction projects must do from time to time,” said Georgia Power spokesman John O’Brien to the AP.

Southern Co. isn’t the only company experiencing issues installing new nuclear reactors. In March, South Carolina-based SCANA Corp said delays constructing two AP1000 reactors at its V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Jenkinsville would drive plant costs up $1.2 billion, and it would have to push back the completion date about one year, with the first unit going online by June 2019.

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