Start-up dates for units 3 and 4 of the US Vogtle NPP have been put back to December 2019 and September 2020, Southern Company said on 22 February. Unit 3 had previously been expected to start commercial operation in mid-2019 and unit 4 in mid-2020. Experience gained at Vogtle 3 is being applied at unit 4, resulting in improved productivity at the second unit, the company said.
CEO Thomas Fanning said contractor Westinghouse had provided Southern with an updated schedule reflecting the new commercial operation dates. He said the company was currently reviewing the schedule to confirm that the projected dates aligned with Southern's expectations. He said the changes to the schedule could be accommodated under the Georgia Public Service Commission's (PSC) December 2016 approval of project costs.
Westinghouse owner Toshiba Corp announced last month it is reviewing its reactor construction business outside of Japan, and Fanning said the company was "closely monitoring" the status of the two companies. "You will recall that the PSC order prescribes the completion of both units by year-end 2020. We are seeing improvements in productivity and believe this momentum will be maintained, given the recent announcement by Toshiba and [Westinghouse]," he said. Customers and shareholders would be protected from cost increases as Southern has fixed-price contracts with Westinghouse, he added.
Two Westinghouse AP1000s are under construction at Vogtle, near Waynesboro. The project is majority owned by Southern subsidiary Georgia Power (45.7%), with co-owners Oglethorpe Power (30%), MEAG Power (22.7%) and Dalton city (1.6%). Construction began on Vogtle 3 in March 2013 and on Vogtle 4 the following November. The units will be operated by Southern Nuclear Operating Company, which also operates Vogtle's two existing pressurised water reactors.