Cost overruns already starting for Georgia Power’s new nukes

Remember how Georgia Power customers get to pay for cost overruns on the new nukes? Well, the overruns have already started.

JoAnn Merrigan wrote for WSAV 15 May 2012, Environmental Groups: Plant Vogtle Reactors Almost One Billion Over Budget,

A group of nine national environmental groups says that the two new nuclear reactors being built at Plant Vogtle (near Waynesboro in eastern Georgia) are over budget by up to $1 billion dollars. The opponents say Georgia Power’s share of the cost overruns is currently $400 million and that may cost ratepayers as well as taxpayers who are guranteeing loans in the billions of dollars.

The nine environmental groups, Friends of the Earth, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Center for a Sustainable Coast, Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions, NC WARN, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Nuclear Watch South, are also suing:

The environmental groups say not enough has been learned from the nuclear reactor in Japan that suffered a meltdown in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake there. They’re trying to force the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) to reconsider the project and are filing suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The groups complained earlier this year after the permit for the new reactors was approved.

Southern company of course says piffle and nonsense:

Southern Company took a different view when asked about the concerns. “We still believe that the targets on cost and construction schedule are achievable,” Steve Higginbottom from Southern Company told me. “And the design we’re using was studied extensively by staff at the NRC and approved.”

That would be the same NRC that gave the existing Vogtle reactors a clean bill of health two days before Vogtle 1 had to shut down.

In case you missed this in a previous post:

Cost overruns reportedly include grading problems under the reactor’s foundation, improperly installed rebar that has slowed the project, and dozens of amendments requested to the federal license for the two new Vogtle reactors.

So, what is to be done?

The groups want the NRC to consider the “true cost” of constructing and operating Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4.

And if Georgia Power, Southern Company, NRC, or we the people and taxpayers of Georgia and the U.S.A. consider the true costs, we’ll stop wasting time and resources on nuclear boondoggles. It’s an election season. Ask your Georgia state elected officials and candidates running why they voted for CWIP and whether they will vote to abolish that stealth tax disguised in jackal’s clothing as a rate hike. You can send in a separate check for your CWIP payment to Georgia Power, and you can write on it whatever you like.

Then we can get on with clean wind and solar power, for civil defense, for jobs, for energy independence, and for profit.


PS: Owed to Michael Noll.