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Sun Sep 23, 2018, 11:36 PM

Plant Vogtle expansion faces new pressures, Monday vote on future of last nuclear project in U.S.

Amid growing pressure from Georgia lawmakers and utility customers, co-owners of the Plant Vogtle expansion are expected to vote Monday on whether to continue the last remaining nuclear project in the U.S.

About halfway constructed, Vogtle’s two new reactors are five years behind schedule and more than $13 billion over budget. The latest cost increase of $2.3 billion, announced in August, triggered the upcoming vote by co-owners Oglethorpe Power (30 percent), the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) (22.7 percent), and Dalton Utilities (1.6 percent). Georgia Power, with 45.7 percent ownership, has already decided to continue. Under their operating agreement, 90 percent of the ownership must agree for the project to continue.

Georgia Power indicated last month its shareholders will cover some of its portion of the latest cost overrun, but the other owners are electric co-ops structured so that ratepayers effectively own the company. They’ll have to raise rates to cover their share of the costs.

The Jacksonville Electric Authority, which contracted to buy power through MEAG, wants out of the deal. It filed a complaint with MEAG and a petition with federal regulators, as well as outlining how abandoning the project would save its customers money. JEA also launched a high profile public relations assault on Vogtle, putting up billboards in Georgia attacking the project as a ”$30 billion mistake” and taking out full page ads in newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, headlined “Plant Vogtle Will Cost You.”

Read more: http://www.savannahnow.com/news/20180922/plant-vogtle-expansion-faces-new-pressures-monday-vote-on-future

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