Southern Co.
So Vogtle 3 And 4 Construction
So Vogtle 3 And 4 Construction
So Vogtle 3 And 4 Construction
So Vogtle 3 And 4 Construction
So Vogtle 3 And 4 Construction

Testing Issues Push Back Vogtle Timeline

Jan. 12, 2023
Vibrations detected in the nuclear plant’s Unit 3 means its in-service date has been delayed at least a few weeks.

The leaders of Southern Co. have nudged back the timeline to bring online Unit 3 of their Vogtle nuclear power plant in eastern Georgia after detecting some vibrations in its cooling system during testing.

The Georgia Power subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern had been targeting this month for Unit 3’s first self-sustained nuclear reaction, from which they would proceed to place the plant into service by the end of March. But the work they will do to fix the vibrations will push Unit 3’s first reaction into February and its service launch to April. (They are forecasting that Vogtle’s Unit 4 will be put into service in December.)

That delay comes with a price tag for the Vogtle 3 & 4 complex, on which Southern (which owns 46% of the project) will eventually spend more than $10 billion and which has been repeatedly delayed since construction began in 2009. In a filing with regulators, company executives say extending the in-service date beyond March will cost Southern $15 million per month before taxes in base costs. Related construction, support and testing expenses will be added to that figure.

Word of the setback for Unit 3 comes about 10 weeks after the Southern team said they had been able to lower their projected capital cost for Vogtle by $70 million from their previous forecast. At the time, Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning—who will this spring hand over Southern’s reins to Georgia Power CEO Chris Womack—said he was hopeful the work on the power plant was down to “the finest tuning.”

Shares of Southern (Ticker: SO) slipped slightly to about $71.35 after hours Jan. 11 after climbing nearly 1% during the regular session. Over the past six months, they are essentially unchanged, leaving the company with a market capitalization of about $80 billion.

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