Southern Company CEO: More Time Needed to Assess Fate of Vogtle Expansion

By Editors of Power Engineering

Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning said the company needs more time than expected to determine whether the company will continue the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Georgia.

Fanning’s comments came during a talk with company shareholders, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The company originally hoped to have a decision ready by this week’s shareholder meeting, though Fanning now hopes to have an evaluation of the project completed by late summer. The delay was due to cost assessments from subcontractors taking longer than expected.

Southern officials would also need to get a buy-in from the Georgia Public Service Commission if the company chooses to collect on cost increases, as well as agreements from project co-owners, including Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.

Fanning said the company also needs to determine who takes on responsibilities for additional risks or future cost overruns.

Westinghouse, the main developer of the Vogtle expansion, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, which raised doubts over whether in-progress nuclear expansion projects could be finished. Vogtle is three years behind schedule and at least $1.3 billion over budget.

Earlier this month Fanning said the company has requested $3.7 billion from Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba, though noted the project might not be finished even if the money is paid.