Georgia Power Announces Revised Schedule, Cost Forecast for Vogtle Units 3 & 4
Friday, July 30th, 2021
Georgia Power announced a revised schedule and cost forecast for the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project, resulting from productivity challenges and additional time for testing and quality assurance. The company currently projects a Unit 3 in-service date in the second quarter of 2022 and a Unit 4 in-service date in the first quarter of 2023, representing a three-to-four-month shift for each unit. The company has also revised the total project capital cost forecast to reflect this updated schedule – resulting in a $460 million increase to Georgia Power.
“Georgia Power is focused on safety and quality as we complete this project,” said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “Vogtle 3 & 4 remains a critical investment for the state to provide low-cost, reliable and emissions-free electricity for the state of Georgia for 60 to 80 years. This is too important to our customers, our state and our nation for us not to get it right, and we will.”
Georgia Power’s share of the total project capital cost forecast is now $9.2 billion, although the company has not sought approval of any capital costs above the $7.3 billion previously approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission. Additionally, there are special protections in place for customers during construction, including a reduction in the company’s return on investment for the project. Every month of delay in the project equates to an incrementally lower return, which translates to lower bill impacts during construction. For future, final cost recovery, an open and transparent prudency review is planned near the completion of Unit 4.
“We knew building the first new nuclear units in the U.S. in more than 30 years would be challenging. The project has endured extraordinary circumstances during construction, including the pandemic as the most recent. Through these challenges, we have learned a great deal. Unit 3 Hot Functional Testing has now been successfully completed with no significant issues identified, which is a critical step toward completion,” Womack added.
With the completion of Unit 3 Hot Functional Testing, Unit 3 direct construction is now 99% complete, with the total Vogtle 3 & 4 expansion project approximately 93% complete. The completion of hot functional testing marks a significant step towards commercial operations. During hot functional testing, plant systems achieved normal operating pressure and temperature, without nuclear fuel, to verify the successful operation of reactor components and systems together.
Carbon-free energy source
The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power’s commitment to deliver safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy for customers and play a significant role in supporting Southern Company’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Once operating, the two new units at Plant Vogtle will be able to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses. A diverse fuel mix, including nuclear, is also essential to maintaining a reliable and affordable energy infrastructure that attracts new investment, supports economic growth and creates jobs.
With more than 7,000 workers on site, and more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating, Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia. The project has also been an economic development driver for the region during construction.