Southern Says New Georgia Reactors Delayed by 18 Months

Southern Co. said delays from suppliers will slow the construction of two new units at its Vogtle nuclear plant by 18 months and may lead to more than $700 millon of extra costs.

Reactors won’t be put in service until the second quarter of 2019 for Unit 3 and the second quarter of 2020 for Unit 4, the Atlanta-based utility owner said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. Southern said it hasn’t accepted the extended timeline proposed by suppliers including Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. and Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse Electric Co., and that it would hold the contractors responsible for additional costs.

Southern’s Georgia Power utility’s $14 billion twin reactors at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, Gerogia, are the first to be licensed in the U.S. since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. The project, which has received $8.3 billion in federal loan commitments, was part of an effort to usher in a new generation of nuclear power plants in the U.S.

Delays have also hit Scana Corp., which is building two reactors in South Carolina. The utility owner said in August its project could be slowed by two years or more because of issues with contractors.

Southern’s reactors were originally scheduled to come online in April 2016 and April 2017.

Southern said it could face additional owner-related financing and other costs of $40 million a month until the reactors are placed in service. Those costs would total $720 million over the additional 18 month delay suggested by the contractors.

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