Start date delay for Vogtle units

30 January 2015

Start-up dates for the first new nuclear power plants to be built in the USA in 30 years have been pushed back by 18 months. Vogtle 3 is now expected to enter service in the second quarter of 2019 with unit 4 following in the second quarter of 2020.

Vogtle 3 nuclear island and cooling tower, pictured in January 2015 (Image: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power and Southern Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission of the change in a filing dated 29 January. In it, the companies said that the contractor consortium of Westinghouse and CB&I/Stone and Webster had revised its forecast for the completion of the units, and that this would "incrementally delay" in-service dates by 18 months. The filing did not elaborate on reasons for the delay.

Georgia Power said in the filing that it had not agreed to any changes to the completion dates and did not believe that the revised forecast "reflects all efforts that may be possible to mitigate the … delay." The company added that, under the engineering, procurement and construction (EP&C) agreement covering the construction project, the contractor is responsible for costs related to the delay.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a construction and operating licence for the two Vogtle units - the first Westinghouse AP1000s to be built in the USA - in early 2012, although early delays meant that construction did not begin until 2013.

The companies say that they are entitled to claim damages for delays beyond the plants' "guaranteed substantial completion dates" of April 2016 and April 2017, respectively. Georgia Power expects to address further matters related to the cost and schedule in its next filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission, which is due on 27 February.

Westinghouse said it does not comment on commercial disputes or matters of litigation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News