An environmental group used April Fools’ Day to poke a little fun at Georgia Power for missing its projected start date for a new reactor at Plant Vogtle, but a company spokesman wasn’t laughing.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy news release issued Friday declared: “We’d like to congratulate Georgia Power for bringing the first of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle on schedule and on budget.
– Bah hah hah! Just kidding! April Fool’s!”
The company set itself up for the joshing nearly a decade ago when it announced that the first of two nuclear reactors added to the plant near Waynesboro would come online April 1, 2016. Repeated assurances to regulators, investors and electricity customers used the same date.
Sara Barczak, the media coordinator for the environmental advocacy group, couldn’t resist.
“Years ago when I first saw that April 1, 2016, date, I made a mental note that I’d do something with that,” she said. “Who would ever choose such a date?”
Construction of the nation’s first commercial reactors in three decades has been dogged by delays and cost overruns, largely because of quality control. The company says it elevates safety above deadlines. The latest revised dates show that startup is now three years away and that costs are
more than $1 billion over budget.
“It’s unfortunate that this organization finds it appropriate to make a joke of the state’s most important and largest job-producing energy construction project, which will serve Georgians for more than 60 years with reliable and carbon-free energy,” said Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins when asked for a reaction.