Southern Co.
So Vogtle 3 And 4 Construction

Southern Slightly Lowers Vogtle Cost Projections

Nov. 1, 2022
The Georgia Power plant’s Unit 3 remains on track to come into service in the first quarter.

Southern Co. executives have trimmed their projected capital cost for the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear power plant in Georgia by $70 million and say they expect to spend another $1.1 billion to complete the long-delayed project by the end of next year.

The adjustment to the Georgia Power Vogtle project’s costs consisted of both a lower base cost – down $59 million from the company’s mid-year forecast, which was however up $100 million from the end of 2021 – and a construction contingency estimate of $49 million versus $60 million as of June 30. And while the raw dollars of the downward tweak aren’t much in the scope of Southern’s total tab of more than $10 billion, it’s some good news for the high-profile project that was delayed early this year after thousands of inspection records were found to be missing or incomplete.

Vogtle, where Southern and its partners recently completed the transfer of 157 fuel assemblies to the reactor core at Unit 3 and where Unit 4 remains on pace to be put into service in December of next year. Southern Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning said the next major milestone is Unit 3’s first self-sustained nuclear reaction, which is penciled in for January. The unit is then expected to be put placed in service by the end of March.

“I wouldn't almost refer to it as construction at this point,” Fanning said of the work left on Unit 3. “It's really finishing the finest tuning, if you can imagine, in order to go critical […] We want to finish all of the minute cleaning procedures that will be necessary for us to run that plant.”

Atlanta-based Southern detailed the Vogtle cost update as part of its third-quarter earnings report, which showed a net profit of nearly $1.5 billion, an increase of 34% from the third quarter of 2021 thanks to better-than-expected economic growth in the company’s service area – including a 10% jump in container volumes at the Port of Savannah. Revenues climbed to $8.4 billion from $6.2 billion in the prior-year period as total sales rose 4.6% and the company’s regulated utility customer base grew 0.8%.

Shares of Southern (Ticker: SO) were changing hands around $65.80 on the afternoon of Oct. 28 and were on pace to finish the week up about 2%. Over the past six months, they have given up about 13%, trimming the company’s market capitalization to about $72 billion.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!