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Documentation problem slows Vogtle construction

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ATLANTA — Missing quality-control documentation is one of the biggest reasons that construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle is behind schedule, according to testimony to the Pub­lic Service Commission on Tuesday.

The comments came from Wil­liam Jacobs, a nuclear engineer the commission hired to monitor construction. He testified that a Louisiana subcontractor making components for the reactors was new to the nuclear field and not accustomed to the requirements to document every step in the fabrication process. Correcting the mistakes took eight months for one of its modules, which still hasn’t arrived at Vogtle.

“It happened month after month. We would go to meetings, and they would present all the ‘new and wonderful things’ they were now doing differently, and then the next month there’d be more new and more wonderful things. Yet, no modules were arriving at the site,” he said. “It’s been a painful process.”

He said the company has resolved the situation but that it delayed construction by 15 months.

Commission Chairman Tim Echols said that after eight months, the module could have simply been rebuilt with the correct records.

“Do you know how difficult it would be to stand in front of ratepayers and others and say, ‘The reason the project is over budget is because of paperwork?’” Echols said.

The commission is reviewing what Georgia Power spends on construction, and it can block the utility from passing along expenses to customers that are “clearly imprudent.” Jacobs has pointed out delays and budget overruns, but the commission hasn’t disallowed any expenses. He noted that under the construction contract the utility can assess penalties on the builder for missing its schedule.

A parade of residents opposed to nuclear power took turns urging the commission to halt construction to prevent customers from being saddled with the costs.

Earlier this month, PSC consultant Philip Hayet – an expert on cost modeling and utility industry policy – questioned Georgia Pow­er’s forecast of $5 billion in economic benefits from the Vogtle project.

“Staff believes this figure is misleading and requires further clarification,” he wrote, noting that the figure is from a “cost to complete analysis” but does not represent the project’s impact on ratepayers.

Issues with late delivery of components, the need to correct non-compliant rebar and other factors are lining up to create 12- to 18-month delays in completing the projects, which in turn will further reduce the perceived economic benefit to ratepayers, he said.

“The impact of the 12-month delay is a reduction in benefits of about $1 billion, while the 18-month delay scenario results in about an additional reduction of $300 million in benefits,” he said.

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dichotomy
32725
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dichotomy 12/18/12 - 09:13 pm
2
0
Hey, they are operating with

Hey, they are operating with OUR money...paid in advance . It breeds slovenly management. It's like giving taxes to the government. Might as well take your money out in the street and set it on fire. If it were investor money, bloody heads would be rolling down the street. But no-o-o, it's ratepayers money so it's just an aww-crap.

Jason W
20
Points
Jason W 12/19/12 - 02:06 am
2
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joke

Its a never ending storying...it reminds me of the politics of Richmond County. I complete joke.

Riverman1
83520
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:22 am
2
0
What's a couple of years

What's a couple of years overrun and a couple of billion dollars between friends?

to tell the truth1
130
Points
to tell the truth1 12/19/12 - 10:55 am
1
0
Plant Vogtle

Georgia Power has a history of bad decisions. You have read where their spokeman was putting the blame on the contractor. Where were all the Georgia Power personnel overseeing that this type of practice was not happening?? Years ago, Plant Vogtle laid off about 20 femaile workers, most of them hard working, single mothers with nearly 20 years of service, not eligible for retirement benefits at the time, only the lousy severance package they gave. In addition to STILL giving hefty yearly bonuses, there was no need to let these people go. What do they care about wasting taxpayers money??

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 12/19/12 - 11:00 am
0
0
The problem is always the paper documentation....
Unpublished

sort of like guns and 3000 pound vehicles. They cannot speak for themselves so are easily blamed for human mismanagement.

Little Lamb
45842
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 11:23 am
0
1
Government Oversight

So the Public Service Commission (a government entity) hired this Wil­liam Jacobs fellow, a nuclear engineer, to monitor construction at the Vogtle project. He testified that a Louisiana subcontractor making components for the reactors was new to the nuclear field and not accustomed to the requirements to document every step in the fabrication process. Then he said:

“It happened month after month. We would go to meetings, and they would present all the ‘new and wonderful things’ they were now doing differently, and then the next month there’d be more new and more wonderful things. Yet, no modules were arriving at the site,” he said. “It’s been a painful process.”

It looks like this Jacobs fellow should have gone to the factory instead of merely going to meetings at his cushy office. But that's the government way — just fix the blame and create another bureaucrat job.

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