WAYNESBORO, GA – Two electric cooperatives decided to continue to support construction of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle Monday. One of them did so while issuing a public demand that Southern Company, the corporate parent of Georgia Power, pay for any additional cost overruns, and demanded a decision by 5pm Tuesday.
The construction of reactors three and four has been underway for a decade at the sprawling Burke County site east of Waynesboro. The original construction budget was $15 billion. It’s now past $30 billion and well past its original completion date. The project is now due to be finished in 2022.
“Southern Company should be willing to bear further risk of (Vogtle’s) missed budgets, not our members,” Mike Smith, president and CEO of Oglethorpe Power, was quoted as saying in a news release Monday evening. Oglethorpe has a 30 percent stake in the Plant Vogtle project. Oglethorpe represents rural electric utilities.
Earlier Monday, a municipal utility co-op called MEAG voted to continue to support Vogtle. One of MEAG’s members tried to lead a revolt against the project. Jacksonville FL-based JEA bought billboards around metro Atlanta describing Vogtle as a “$30 million mistake.”
The project has enjoyed political support in Georgia, with as many as 7,000 construction jobs at the site.
“It’s certainly a huge project. We feel very fortunate it’s in our community and we do reap the benefits from it,” said Ashley Roberts of the Burke County Chamber of Commerce. Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal sent a letter to Georgia Power urging completion of the project.
Yet last week, 30 members of the legislature wrote to Georgia Power asking the utility to establish “a cost cap, that protects all Georgia electric ratepayers from this and future overruns.”