By Russell Gold
The only nuclear-power plant under construction in the U.S. is facing delays and additional costs. Again.
Earlier this week, an engineering expert working for the Georgia Public Service Commission testified that the startup of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant would likely be delayed until the summer of 2022 and cost $2 billion more than expected.
Southern Co., the Atlanta-based utility building the nuclear-power plant, didn't immediately comment on the testimony. Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas A. Fanning recently pushed back the plant's scheduled start of generating electricity from November 2021 until early 2022. Last month, he said at the company's annual shareholder meeting that testing of the equipment to ensure the plant was safe "may take a few weeks longer than our original plan."
Vogtle has been beset by numerous delays and cost overruns. It was originally scheduled to open in 2016, and the total cost of the two planned Vogtle reactors tops $27 billion -- more than double the initial estimates approved by state regulators in 2008.
The problems finishing Vogtle have damped enthusiasm for what was hailed a decade ago as a possible nuclear renaissance in the U.S. Today, the facility located near Augusta, Ga., highlights the financial and industrial difficulty of building a new nuclear-power plant in a country that hasn't completed a new one in three decades.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires