Georgia Power to pay Vogtle co-owner for project cost overruns

October 9, 2023, 3:04PMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 (on left) and 4, in August. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power, primary owner of the Vogtle nuclear plant, announced last Friday that it will pay $413 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it last year by plant co-owner Oglethorpe Power Corporation.

Oglethorpe sued the Southern Company subsidiary in June of last year over their respective financial responsibilities for cost overruns at the Vogtle reactor expansion project.

Fellow co-owners Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities have also sued over the project’s ballooning costs, and while Georgia Power agreed to pay up to $76 million to settle with MEAG last October, the Dalton suit is still pending.

Georgia Power holds a 45.7 percent share of Vogtle. Oglethorpe, MEAG, and Dalton hold shares of 30 percent, 22.7 percent, and 1.6 percent, respectively.

According to an October 6 report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Georgia Power said it will pay Oglethorpe $308 million to cover its share of construction costs that were already incurred. Georgia Power will also pay an estimated $105 million for Oglethorpe’s portion of the costs needed to complete Vogtle’s expansion and will cover 66 percent of any additional cost overruns.”

For its part, Oglethorpe, which had earlier sought to sell some of the plant’s generating capacity back to Georgia Power, has agreed to keep its 30 percent ownership share, the AJC reported.

Meanwhile: Georgia Power also announced Friday that it will have to replace a critical cooling component at Vogtle-4, putting the kibosh on plans to start that unit’s commercial operation by the end of 2023. According to the AJC, “The problem at Vogtle Unit 4 involves a faulty motor inside one of the reactor’s four coolant pumps, which keep temperatures at safe levels inside the reactor core. Georgia Power said the issue was discovered during start-up testing and that the entire pump will have to be replaced.”

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