More delays, cost overruns for Plant Vogtle, SEC filing shows

Atomic plant Vogtle, is a 2-unit nuclear power plant located in Burke County, near Waynesboro, Georgia in USA. Each unit has a Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR), with a General Electric turbine and electric generator, producing approximate

Georgia Power says it has run into another delay in bringing Unit 3 of the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant online, located southeast of Augusta.

In a filing to the SEC on Wednesday, Georgia Power’s parent company, The Southern Company, wrote that engineers "identified, and is in the process of remediating, vibrations associated with certain piping within the cooling system."

The Atlanta-based company says it will "file a license amendment request with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission…to help expedite the remediation."

Company officials say this pushes back the initial criticality of the unit by a month with it scheduled to go in service now in April. The filing also says it will cost Georgia Power an additional $15 million.

The two new reactors for the plant were approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2012 and Unit 3 was supposed to be generating power in 2016. The cost of the two units have climbed from its original estimate of $14 billion to close to $35 billion.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved plans to load the fuel in August. Approval was delayed because much of the third reactor’s wiring had to be redone after federal regulators found major flaws. Southern Co. also fell behind on inspection documents that had to be completed before the NRC could sign off.

Georgia Power’s 2.7 million customers are already paying part of the financing cost and state regulators have approved a monthly rate increase of at least $3.78 a month as soon as the third unit begins generating power.

In December, Georgia Public Service Commission approved a $1.8 billion rate increase for Georgia Power customers, raising rates by 12% over the next three years.

The all-Republican regulatory commission voted 4-1 for the plan, after agreeing to give the company more money to build charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, adopting a lower payment rate for electricity generated by rooftop solar panels than staff had recommended, and letting the company earn more on its capital than staff had recommended.

Georgia Power says residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity will see their bills go up by $3.60 a month in January. That is an increase of 2.8% over the $128 such customers now pay. Increases of roughly 4.5% would follow in both 2024 and 2025, pushing bills to around $144 a month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report