Virus impacts could slow Vogtle construction project

April 3, 2020, 10:30AMNuclear News

Ongoing efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic could hinder progress at the reactor construction project currently under way at the Vogtle nuclear plant near Waynesboro, Ga., according to a Southern Company report filed on April 1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

What it says:While the report stated, “It is too early to determine what impact, if any, the COVID-19 outbreak will have on the current construction schedule or budget for Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4,” it noted that restrictions imposed by various governmental entities on travel, public events, and business operations have “significantly disrupted economic activity in the service territories of the company’s utility subsidiaries and have caused volatility in capital markets.”

These restrictions, the report continued, could end up extending supply chain and capital market disruptions, reducing labor availability and productivity, and prolonging the decline in economic activity, all of which could have a negative impact on Southern. “In particular, these effects could disrupt or delay construction, testing, supervisory, and support activities at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4,” the report said.

In addition: The report also noted that Southern Nuclear, a Southern Company subsidiary and the operator of Vogtle-1 and -2, has implemented policies designed to mitigate the risk of virus transmission at the construction site, including social distancing of workers, isolation for workers showing COVID-19–like symptoms, testing for those who have been in close contact with symptomatic workers, and self-quarantining.

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