You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

'Every option' being looked at for Plant Vogtle after contractor’s bankruptcy


A day after its key contractor filed bankruptcy, Georgia Power said Thursday it is looking at all options for what to do with its unfinished Plant Vogtle nuclear project.

“Every option is on the table,” Georgia Power attorney Kevin Green told members of the Georgia Public Service Commission, which regulates the Atlanta-based utility.

Westinghouse Electric, which is supplying the reactors and overseeing construction of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, filed for Chapter 11 Wednesday, largely as a result of billions in losses on the Vogtle project and another in South Carolina.

Even before the bankruptcy filing, the Vogtle project has slipped more than three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget.

At the least, the bankruptcy filing is widely expected to lead to more delays and higher costs, ultimately costing most of Georgia’s utility customers more.

Consumer and environmental groups said the best decision is likely to shut down the project, which they said is too costly and unnecessary because Georgia Power already has enough power generating capacity.

“We believe the worst alternative would be to continue constructing the plant,” said Liz Coyle, executive director of consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch. “We have been saying for years that these projects are too risky and that too much of the risk is being born by ratepayers.”

If the project is abandoned, customers’ rates could still go up to reimburse Georgia Power and other project partners for the roughly $8 billion in construction costs spent so far, including $3.9 billion by Georgia Power.

Green, with Georgia Power, said the company is now studying how much it will cost to complete the new reactors, perhaps under the company’s management, and whether it still makes sense to finish the job.

“We do know that we have almost $2 billion left … to fund a self-build” but it ultimately may not be the best option, said Green. “We have no pre-conceived notions.”

Other options include converting one or both reactors into natural gas-fired plants, or shutting down construction of one or both construction projects.

Environmental and consumer groups said solar or other renewable energy projects should also be considered.

Meanwhile, at Thursday’s meeting, some PSC commissioners expressed frustration at the turn of events.

Commissioner Tim Echols grumbled that much of the cost overruns were related to Westinghouse fixing problems with its new reactor design, the AP 1000, being used at Vogtle and another project in South Carolina owned by SCANA Corp.

“These people (Westinghouse) want our ratepayers to pay their learning curve,” said Echols. “They were the ones that were going to sell this technology around the world and make billions of dollars,” he said.

PSC Commissioner H. Doug Everett said the bankruptcy has “nothing to do” with Georgia Power’s obligations to the regulator regarding Vogtle.

“We are looking for you to do what you said you would do,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

The questions all landlords should ask

The vast majority of rental problems can be eliminated in advance through a good screening process. Many amateur landlords are so desperate for a tenant that they accept the first applicant who walks in the door. That is a rental nightmare waiting to happen. When screening any applicant, remember to be consistent - treat all potential renters the same...
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks

Banks — especially the smaller ones — can probably expect a lighter touch from regulators in the future, but not in areas that would weaken protections against another industry meltdown, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s new president. Earlier this month the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled a nearly 150-page report...
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight

A Delta Air Lines plane at 30,000 feet became the scene for a carefully-orchestrated engagement this week. Flights were already part of the couple’s long-distance relationship stretched between Atlanta and Pennsylvania — Deepum Patel works in Atlanta while girlfriend Neha Chakravarti has been in dental school in Pennsylvania. During a Wednesday...
Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps
Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps

Georgia is seeing a significant decrease in the number of people receiving food stamps as the improving economy lifts many recipients into new jobs and frees them from the fear of going hungry. The number of Georgians getting food stamps has dropped by 300,000 from 1.9 million in April 2013 to 1.6 million. That decrease of 16 percent in the federally...
Record number of travelers expected over July 4th weekend
Record number of travelers expected over July 4th weekend

A record number of people are expected to travel over the 4th of July holiday weekend, according to AAA. A total of 44.2 million Americans are forecast to take trips over the period running from June 30 to July 4. In Georgia, 1.3 million people will travel for the holiday, AAA says. Most of them will be driving. But 3.4 million across the country are...
More Stories