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Georgia Commission to Decide Fate of Only Nuclear Plant Under Construction in US

Georgia Commission to Decide Fate of Only Nuclear Plant Under Construction in US
New reactor construction is shown at Plant Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Waynesboro, Ga. Friday, June 13, 2014. (John Bazemore/AP)

By    |   Monday, 18 December 2017 10:41 AM

A Georgia commission on Thursday is scheduled to decide whether to continue or cancel the construction of Plant Vogtle, the only nuclear reactor under construction in the U.S., according to the Washington Examiner.

The commission, which contains five elected officials who are all Republicans, will make a decision about Georgia Power's cost projection and construction timeline for the project, the Examiner reported.

Georgia Power's estimate is $12.2 billion for its 45.7 percent share of the project. It also aims for the project to be generating electricity by 2021 or 2022, the Examiner reported.

The timeline is five years behind schedule and the estimate, at more than $20 billion, is higher than the original projection. Georgia Power has pitched the Plant Vogtle project since 2009 as a means to produce clean energy for the state, with two reactors that could provide emission-free electricity for 80 years, the report said.

Drawbacks that have struck the project include its lead contractor, Westinghouse, going bankrupt, and a key tax credit for new nuclear production not being extended in the Republican tax reform package, the report said.

The public power companies that are building the plan asked Georgia's Public Service Commission for permission to increase rates on Georgia Power customers to pay for the project, but commission staff filed a document saying the cost would be prohibitive, the Examiner reported.

"It's a very lopsided, heavy-handed proposal for Georgia Power to say we want the commission to approve a revised cost schedule and additional years of delay, in addition to assurances we will recover every last penny from customers," Kurt Ebersbatch, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center told the Examiner.

"It's unreasonable," Ebersbach added.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said the project would be worth the cost. "We remain confident that the unified recommendation to move forward with construction represents the best choice for customers while preserving the benefits of a new carbon-free energy source for our state," Kraft told the Examiner.

Public Service Commission vice chairman Tim Echols, who has noted his support for the project, noted that public opinion seems to be against the project.

"I probably received about 120 emails that I've responded to with constituents asking us to cancel the plant, maybe six that have said move forward with the plant," Echols told Savannah Now.

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A Georgia commission on Thursday is scheduled to decide whether to continue or cancel the construction of Plant Vogtle, the only nuclear reactor under construction in the U.S., according to the Washington Examiner.
georgia, nuclear, plant, construction, fate
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2017-41-18
Monday, 18 December 2017 10:41 AM
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