Georgia nuclear plant’s cost now forecast to top $30 billion

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry speaks during a press event at the construction site of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Friday, March 22, 2019 in Waynesboro, Ga. Georgia Power Co.’s parent company announced more cost overruns and schedule delays to the project on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A nuclear power plant being built in Georgia is now projected to cost its owners more than $30 billion.

A financial report from one of the owners on Friday clearly pushed the cost of Plant Vogtle near Augusta past that milestone, bringing its total cost to $30.34 billion

That amount doesn’t count the $3.68 billion that original contractor Westinghouse paid to the owners after going bankrupt, which would bring total spending to more than $34 billion.

Vogtle is the only nuclear plant under construction in the United States, and its costs could deter other utilities from building such plants, even though they generate electricity without releasing climate-changing carbon emissions.

The latest increase in the budget, by the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, wasn’t a surprise after lead owner Georgia Power Co. announced delays and $920 million in overruns on March 3. Georgia Power’s costs only cover the 45.7% of the plant it owns, meaning that the cooperatives and municipal utilities that own the majority of the two-reactor project later update their financial projections as well.

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