Vogtle project facing delays, watchdog warns

ATLANTA — A state watchdog says the Atlanta-based Southern Co. may miss its deadline to build two nuclear reactors near Augusta and is under pressure not to exceed its budget.

Nuclear engineer William Jacobs said in a report released Monday that the utility faces “significant challenges” making the first of two planned reactors at Plant Vogtle operational by April 2016. The current project schedule shows that deadline has slipped by five months.

Jacobs said it’s questionable whether the company can compress its schedule to meet the original deadline.

The regulated utility is projecting its share of the project will cost just over $6 billion, which is just under a state-approved cap. But Jacobs said schedule delays and unresolved change orders mean the company could face challenges sticking to its budget.

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