Plant Vogtle | WABE 90.1 FM

Plant Vogtle

Fenly Foxen / WABE

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

David Goldman / associated press file

Georgia Power is extending an agreement to keep construction going on a new nuclear plant after the project's main builder filed for bankruptcy.

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About an hour before the agreement was due to expire Friday, Georgia Power issued an 11 p.m. statement saying it had been extended.

John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

Friday is a key deadline for Georgia Power. The company worked out a deal to keep construction going on its two new nuclear power units at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. That's as Westinghouse, which is the lead contractor, has begun bankruptcy proceedings. That deal was extended at the end of April, and now expires Friday night.

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David Goldman / Associated Press

Thursday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

David Goldman / associated press file

Georgia Power is reviewing how much it will cost to finish building two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. It's also looking at what it would cost not to complete the project, or to go in a different direction, like converting to natural gas.

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That's after the main contractor, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, thanks to cost overruns at Vogtle and at another nuclear project in South Carolina.

Mary Ann Chastain, File / Associated Press

Japan's embattled Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking a key step in its struggles to stop the flow of massive red ink.

Toshiba said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York. The move had been largely expected.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

The company that's building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia is reportedly heading for bankruptcy. And that could mean trouble for Georgia Power, whose new units at Plant Vogtle are already behind schedule and over budget.

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Westinghouse, the contractor building the two new nuclear units, could file for bankruptcy as early as next week. The units at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, and others in South Carolina are the first new nuclear reactors being built in the United States in decades.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

On Feb. 21, the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, approved Georgia Power's request for an additional $141 million in expenses related to the construction of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.  

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Employees raised $70,000 for this year’s gift giveaway, which continues this 30-year tradition of providing presents for the children of families in need.  New to this year’s giveaway are tablets that some children will receive.
Candace Wheeler / WABE

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

The Public Service Commission approved a deal with Georgia Power to pay for its delayed nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

Construction on the two new units is now several years behind schedule. It’s also costing Georgia Power about $2 billion more than originally expected.

The Public Service Commission's vote signaled Georgia Power's spending at the plant is “reasonable and prudent,” and much of the costs can be passed onto the company's customers.

David Goldman / associated press file

State officials are considering making a deal with Georgia Power on how much customers will pay to help build the new nuclear power units at Plant Vogtle.

The cost of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 has gone up as the date they’re expected to be finished has been pushed back.

Georgia Power customers are helping to pay to build the new units, through a charge on their monthly electric bills. The Public Service Commission decides if the money Georgia Power spends to build them is “prudent.” If it’s not, then the company can’t pass that spending on to customers.

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

The state Court of Appeals has ruled a lawsuit against Georgia Power over whether or not the company is overcharging customers on fees can move forward.

The lawsuit, which has asked for class-action status, claims Georgia Power has been improperly calculating what’s known as “municipal franchise fees” on ratepayers’ bills.

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

Georgia Power says it doesn’t see why the nuclear reactors that are under construction at Plant Vogtle shouldn’t open on schedule, but does say that schedule is tough.

And that’s an updated schedule, since one of the new units was originally intended to be up-and-running by this year. Now, Georgia Power hopes to finish one of the new reactors by June 2019, and the other by June 2020. The company announced that plan last year.

At a hearing Tuesday at the Public Service Commission, Georgia Power said that new timeline is "a great challenge."

David Goldman / associated press file

Hearings resumed Tuesday on Georgia Power's plans for how much energy it will generate and where that energy will come from.

Every three years, Georgia Power has to outline its energy plans for the next 20 years in a series of hearings over several months.

The utility presented its integrated resource plan, or IRP, to the state Public Service Commission last month. During this round of hearings, scheduled to last through Thursday, commission staff and other interested parties, like environmental groups, get to weigh in on those plans.

Looking Forward To 2016: Georgia Environmental News

Dec 28, 2015
Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 cooling towers.
©2015 Georgia Power Company

As 2015 comes to a close, we asked reporters and producers about what big topics they plan to track in 2016.

Reporter Molly Samuel says she's got her eye on energy including the two new nuclear units being built at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle.

An upward view inside the Vogtle Unit 3 cooling tower.
©2015 Georgia Power Company

Georgia Power reported Friday the cost to build a nuclear plant was holding steady, but there's significant uncertainty whether those numbers will stick.

The Southern Co. subsidiary owns a 46 percent stake in two new reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta. The utility now expects to spend roughly $7.5 billion to finish the project, or about 22 percent more than originally expected.

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

Regulators have given preliminary approval of $169 million in spending by Georgia Power on its new nuclear power plant.

The Public Service Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve the utility company's spending on its construction costs at Plant Vogtle for the six-month period ending Dec. 31.

However, it's not necessarily the last word on spending. The commissioners could still block the Southern Co. subsidiary from passing along some of its construction costs to customers if they eventually rule that spending was unnecessary or wasteful.

The CA04 module, which will house the AP1000 reactor vessel, is placed into the containment vessel bottom head inside the Vogtle Unit 4 nuclear island.
©2015 Georgia Power Company

Activists are asking Georgia's energy regulators to reconsider building new nuclear power units at Plant Vogtle. The plant expansion is expected to be complete in 2020 – three years behind schedule.

Georgia Power has to go to the Public Service Commission every six months to get its expenses for construction at Vogtle approved. Right now, the last half of 2014 is under consideration. The PSC holds hearings to find out what's going on at the plant, then lets Georgia Power pay its contractors.

An upward view inside the Vogtle Unit 3 cooling tower.
©2015 Georgia Power Company

The construction delays and cost overruns at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle nuclear power facility were the subject of a hearing this week by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Georgia Power co-owns the plant, which is located near the Georgia-South Carolina border. The company promised at the hearing that the two new reactors at the facility – the first ones built in the U.S in the past three decades – will be online by 2020.

But Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols said during an interview on “A Closer Look” that he doesn’t believe Georgia Power can keep that promise.

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

The Georgia Public Service Commission is considering approval of Georgia Power’s expenses on two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle. The utility company pushed back the construction deadline by 18 months in January. 

Georgia Power has to get approval from the Public Service Commission on its spending at Vogtle twice a year. At a hearing Monday, the PSC considered construction from July through December 2014. It was the first hearing since Georgia Power announced that the plant is 18 months behind schedule. Now the first new nuclear unit isn’t expected to be completed until 2019.

The stock price of Atlanta-based Southern Company is at $44 per share, down from a high earlier this year of $52. One analyst says the stock will continue to be volatile as the company grows its electric supply.

Southern Company’s most significant project is undoubtedly at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, where it’s building two new nuclear reactors. The project has been plagued by cost overruns and multiple-year delays.

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning says the power company could get $240 million in damages from the builders of its new nuclear plant in Georgia.

That payment from Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. would offset a third of the costs Southern Co. might face if its new reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH'-gohl) are further delayed.

Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols speaking with WABE's Denis O'Hayer on "A Closer Look" at the station's studios on January 30, 2015
Dan Raby / WABE

On Thursday, Georgia Power and its partners in the Plant Vogtle expansion project announced they expect a delay of another 18 months before construction is completed.  

The announcement projects the first of the two new reactors will now be finished in mid-2019; the second in mid-2020.  The delays are expected to add more than a billion dollars to the total cost of the project.  

In this June 13, 2014, file photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. An analyst for the Public Service Commission, Steven Roetger, said the timeline for finishing two nuclear reactors at Pl
John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

Construction of Plant Vogtle, a nuclear plant in Waynesboro, Georgia, could be delayed 18 months, raising costs for builders and owners.

Southern Co. said Thursday that the firms designing and building the new plant expect work on the first reactor will be complete in mid-2019, and the second reactor will be finished in mid-2020. The reactors were supposed to be running by 2016 and 2017, respectively.

A pair of state inspectors Tuesday said Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project near Augusta is headed for further delay. They also criticized Georgia Power for a lack of transparency over the project’s long-term construction schedule.

Both, however, are recommending the project be allowed to move forward.

The nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle near Augusta appears headed for further delay and it could result in higher electric bills for ratepayers. 

The state's independent construction monitor, William Jacobs, said last month he expects the two new reactors to take longer to build than Georgia Power's current projections. 

"(State staff) and (I) believe that the (completion dates) will be further delayed. At this time...it is impossible to determine a reasonable forecast range as to when the (twin reactors) could be commercially available," testified Jacobs.

Georgia Power

State regulators Tuesday signed off on the latest round of spending for Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.

Advocates say ratepayers should prepare for higher bills due to construction delays and cost overruns.

Georgia’s five-member Public Service Commission unanimously approved $389 million to continue construction, bringing total costs so far to $2.6 billion. The now-$15.5 billion project is at least 21-months behind schedule and around $1.5 billion over budget.

The state’s lead regulator on air quality Friday offered his first public assessment of new carbon rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Keith Bentley, the Air Protection Branch Chief at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, said he and other state regulators are still working to understand the proposed carbon standard.

Michelle Wirth/WABE News

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz talked about the future of nuclear power during an appearance in Atlanta today.

Moniz pointed to the construction of Plant Vogtle as just one indicator of an ongoing commitment to using different kinds of energy.

“Fuel diversity is something that I think that’s very important for the country; it’s happening here,” said Moniz. “For the country and even globally, the cost and schedule performance will be very important for the future trajectory of nuclear power.”

Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle in Augusta is getting a big financial boost. The U.S. Department of Energy has formally signed off on $6.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for the project.

The loan money was tentatively approved back in 2010, but federal officials and Georgia Power and its partners spent years negotiating the terms.

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