Nuclear reactor delays could cost millions

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The work is continuing on two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, but it will take an increase of about $381 million.

"Being the first one out in the United States in more than 32 years, it has to be perfect," said Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power.

But the price of perfection for nuclear Reactors 3 and 4 is more than just money.

"Every aspect has to be just standard that insures safety and meets the NRC requirements," he said.

And that takes time. Maybe up to two years longer since Georgia Power pushed the dates back to late 2017 and 2018.

"As we go through the process and really realizing the new process that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission put forth, it is taking a little longer time," Bowers explained.

That new process includes a bit more red tape.

"When you look at the new provisions for cyber security and those types of things and the delay in time in getting other approvals at the plant, we needed more time to complete it," Bowers said.

"This is still the best alternative for the citizens of Georgia. It's better than any other generation's source by the tunes of $4 billion," he explained.

That means it's still about $4 billion cheaper to finish the reactors rather than stopping and building natural gas plants.

But that doesn't include the amount that's already been spent on this first-of-it's-kind nuclear plant.

However, this increase isn't set in stone.

"Every six months, the Public Service Commission goes through a Construction Monitor Report to look at the cost are they prudent or not," Bowers said. "And they go through to insure that they are or not."

And that's still to be determined, as is exactly how this will affect your bills.

"We estimated the price of this plant would increase bills about 10 percent because of lower interest rates and now that we can get some incentives from the government from production tax credits, bills are gonna go up between 6 and 8 percent," Bowers explained.

Which means you are spending more, but not as much as anticipated.


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