Further delay in startup of Vogtle AP1000s

18 February 2022

Vogtle unit 3 is now expected to be in service by the end of the first quarter of 2023, with unit 4 following by the fourth quarter of 2023, Georgia Power has announced. In addition, the company said its share of total Vogtle capital costs has increased about USD920 million.

Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle plant, pictured last month (Image: Georgia Power)

In October last year, Georgia Power announced a three-month delay in the schedule for the Vogtle 3 and 4 expansion project, with an in-service date in the third quarter of 2022 expected for Vogtle 3, with Vogtle 4's in-service date set for the second quarter of 2023.

However, the company has now said there will be a further 3-6 month delay in the startup of the units due to lapses in inspection reports for unit 3 which will delay some necessary approvals from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"We have discovered incomplete and missing inspection records concerning much of the materials and equipment that have been installed at unit 3," Thomas Fanning, CEO of Georgia Power parent Southern Company, said in a conference call.

He noted that over the past year, shortcomings in construction and documentation quality have added to project timelines and cost.

Georgia Power's share of total Vogtle capital costs has increased by about USD920 million "to address updated projected in-service dates, construction productivity, increased support resources and replenishment of contingency."

This includes USD480 million for its share of cost and schedule changes and USD440 million for incremental costs expected to be borne by Georgia Power under the co-owner agreement.

Georgia Power noted that, under the co-owner agreement, a schedule extension beyond November 2022 and 2023 requires an affirmative vote from the project's owners to proceed. It said the voting process was under way and was expected to conclude on 8 March. Georgia Power has voted to proceed.

Vogtle units 3 and 4 are co-owned by Georgia Power (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power (30%), MEAG Power (22.7%) and Dalton city (1.6%).

Construction of the two AP1000 units began in 2013: unit 3 in March and unit 4 in November. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the project to build the units in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News