Southern Co's new Georgia Vogtle reactors to cost more, take longer

March 4 Mon Mar 4, 2013 5:05pm EST

March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. power company Southern Co said the two new power reactors under construction at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia will cost more because the units will enter service later than expected.

In a report to Georgia utility regulators last week, Southern's Georgia Power unit asked the utility regulators to approve $737 million of additional costs for its share of the new reactors, bringing the company's total to $6.85 billion.

Based on Southern's 47.5 percent share of the two 1,100-megawatt (MW) Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, the total cost of the project could exceed $14 billion.

In its eighth semi-annual construction monitoring report, Georgia Power said the units are now expected to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2018.

Earlier, the company had projected the reactors would enter service in 2016 and 2017.

The company said the delays were due in part to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulatory changes, increased taxes, costs necessary for operational readiness, quality and compliance during construction, transmission costs, and legal and environmental permitting costs.

Separately, Westinghouse and Shaw, the contractors building the new units at Vogtle, filed a lawsuit in November in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Georgia Power and the other Vogtle owners, seeking about $900 million.

The contractors' lawsuit was over disputed costs resulting from design changes to certain equipment and components of the plant, as well as costs associated with delays related to the timing of approval of the design control document and issuance of the construction and operating licenses.

Georgia Power and the other Vogtle owners have filed a complaint against Westinghouse and Shaw on the same issues in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia in Augusta. The litigation is pending.

Westinghouse is majority owned by Japanese multinational Toshiba Corp. Shaw is now part of engineering and construction company Chicago Bridge & Iron Co NV (CB&I).

Vogtle is jointly owned by Georgia Power (45.7 percent), Oglethorpe Power Corp (30 percent), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7 percent) and Dalton Utilities (1.6 percent).

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