Georgia Power, Southern Nuclear ready to take over project management at Plant Vogtle expansion

Management of the Plant Vogtle expansion project could change hands within a month.

 

Georgia Power announced late Wednesday that it and Southern Nuclear are prepared to take over management at the Burke County nuclear power plant in late July, under the terms of a new service agreement struck June 9.

“There are thousands of workers that remain onsite at the Vogtle nuclear expansion today – working in all areas of the site, to keep construction of the new units moving forward,” said Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins. “Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear are fully prepared, working with Westinghouse, to assume project management at the site by the end of next month.”

The changeover will take effect after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York rejects a previous agreement with current project manager Westinghouse Electric Co.

Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March. It is a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp.

“The scope of the service agreement includes engineering, procurement and licensing support from Westinghouse, as well as access to Westinghouse intellectual property needed for the project,” Georgia Power said in a news release. “To allow time for all approvals, the interim assessment agreement has been extended through July 20.”

The agreement also firms up $3.68 billion in parental guarantees to Georgia Power by Toshiba. That money acts as protection for Georgia electric customers after Westinghouse’s bankruptcy.

In March 2009, Georgia Power received certification from the Georgia Public Service Commission to build two new AP1000 nuclear reactors at the site, known as Vogtle 3 and Vogtle 4.

Vogtle’s first two units were built in 1987 and 1989, respectively.

Westinghouse cited cost overruns at Vogtle as a major contributor to its bankruptcy. It also cited cost overruns in its expansion of the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station near Jenkinsville, S.C.

The Vogtle project is more than $3 billion over budget and more than three years behind schedule.

Reach Joe Hotchkiss at (706) 823-3543 or joe.hotchkiss@augustachronicle.com.

 

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