“Many of these costs are driven by the construction schedule extension to fourth quarter 2017 and fourth quarter 2018 for Units 3 and 4, respectively,” the nuclear plant’s primary owner disclosed in its newest construction monitoring report to the Public Service Commission.
Previous schedules called for the two new reactors to be completed in November 2016 and November 2017.
Georgia Power’s cost increase is proportionate to its 45.7 percent ownership share, meaning the total increase in construction costs will be much higher when other owners’ shares are considered.
Those owners are Oglethorpe Power, which owns 30 percent; the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, which owns 22.7 percent; and Dalton Utilities, with a 1.6 percent share.
In an interview to discuss the report, Buzz Miller, the executive vice president of nuclear development for Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear, said the project’s total price tag – $14 billion – will remain roughly the same, despite the increase in construction costs.
“The cost of financing has gone down, so while we
have an increase in real construction, that ($14 billion) is still a valid estimate,” he said.
The extra time needed to complete the project is the primary reason for the cost increase, he said.
“This is about having staff out there for a longer period of time,” he said. “The bulk of this is purely schedule extension, not rework or tearing anything our to do over again.”
Many major portions of the project are complete, and most regulatory issues have been resolved, he said, meaning the new projected completion dates should prove accurate.
“We think this is a good, valid approximation,” Miller said. “It gives us appropriate time to complete the project.”
Just this week, he said, one of two license amendment requests that will allow the critical pouring of the “nuclear concrete” basemat foundation was approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and
approval of the second amendment request is expected soon.
The concrete pour is likely to occur sometime in March.