Georgia Power Approaches Deadline On Fate Of Vogtle Nuclear Plant

May 11, 2017

Georgia Power spent $50 million dollars in April to keep construction moving at Plant Vogtle.

That was the word from company officials Thursday at a hearing before Georgia utility regulators, a day before a deadline to decide the fate of two half-built nuclear reactors at the site.

Georgia Power customers all over the state have paid close to $2 billion for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the plant, a project that is years behind schedule and billions over budget.

And since March, its future has been in question. That's when Westinghouse, the main contractor at the plant, filed for bankruptcy.

“To continue to take money from elderly people or any person to pay in advance for this absolute financial and management disaster: it’s wrong, wrong, and wrong,” said Robert Searfoss, a Georgia Power customer from Atlanta.

He’s with the group Aging Raging Ratepayers and joined a small cadre of Vogtle opponents speaking outside the hearing.

“We’ve been paying on our electric bills for several years, and it’s really just gone nowhere. The plants: I would compare [them] to a big deep hole. I think that when you’re in a hole, you need to stop digging,” said Betsy Rivard with the group Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace.

Inside the hearing, Georgia Power officials took questions on the company’s semi-annual report on construction progress at the plant.

It’s part of a regular process to get state utility regulators to sign off on the latest round of costs at Vogtle. That decision should come from the public service commission later this year.

But a more pressing issue hung in the air: what’s next for Vogtle?

Company officials didn’t offer much information on the plant’s future, though more should come soon. Construction at the plant will continue at least through Friday when an interim agreement between Georgia Power and Westinghouse expires.

At that time, the utility is expected to present their vision for Vogtle’s future and how much time and money it will cost to realize their plans.

Georgia Power has said every option is on the table, from finishing construction to shutting the project down.