Georgia governor praises vote on nuclear plant

The project is the only new nuclear reactors under construction in the USA and Georgia Power argued that its importance to the nuclear industry in the country should be taken under consideration.

Georgia power regulators Thursday could determine the fate of a troubled and controversial nuclear power project in that state, a decision that could have dramatic implications for JEA ratepayers who are on the hook for as much as $1.7 billion. The new reactors on the Savannah River near Waynesboro were initially expected to cost the company about $6 billion and be completed this year. That agreement binds JEA not only to pay for power but to also help with the construction cost - whether the project is completed or not.

What kept the Georgia project afloat after V.C. Summer was canceled was the presence of Southern to back the project, along with a $3.68 billion settlement with Toshiba Corp, which owns Westinghouse.

Deal said investing in the project is a worthwhile endeavor, and that it's important that Georgians "stay the course" and the project continues.

The project's original main contractor, Westinghouse, declared bankruptcy in March after its parent company, Toshiba, wrote off more than $6 billion in losses from its nuclear business. Construction of two of its new reactors in SC was halted over the summer after that project was deemed too expensive to continue.

However, the projects ran into trouble when construction - expected to be quicker and safer than previous plants - ended up running into delays due to problems with work quality.

Georgia Power is also asking the commission to approve $542 million in costs spent on the project this year up to June 30.

The project had been plagued by delays and escalating costs for years. Georgia Power asserts that under the schedule it put forth for completion and various cost forecasts, average savings of completing the plant would be $585 million. The financing costs of the project are already being borne by ratepayers through a surcharge on their bills.

Although both projects were using Westinghouse as the main contractor and were set to use the new AP1000 reactors, Georgia Power said in its request that the Vogtle project and the V.C. Summer were very different. The PSC decision is only binding only on Georgia Power.



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