No market bids have been forthcoming in response to Georgia Power's request for proposals for 2016-7 baseload capacity, clearing the way for the continued review of its plans to build new nuclear units at Vogtle.
Under the state regulatory rules of the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), self-build proposals must be compared against market bids. As no market bids have been made, Georgia Power's proposal for two Westinghouse AP1000 units will now be reviewed by the PSC's independent evaluator before Georgia Power submits a final recommendation to the PSC on 1 August. A final certification decision from the PSC, necessary before a new plant can be built, is expected in March 2009.
"While nuclear power
plants cost more
to build, they now
have lower fuel and
operating costs than
fossil fuel plants"
Mike Garret, president and
CEO of Georgia Power
The project will also require approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Georgia Power lodged an application for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) with the NRC at the beginning of April, and has subsequently signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPC) with Shaw and Westinghouse. If all licenses and permits are granted as envisaged, the two plants are slated to enter service in 2016 and 2017.
Georgia Power president and CEO Mike Garret remarked on the need to add large-scale baseload generation capacity to meet the growing energy demands of the region. "While nuclear power plants cost more to build, they now have lower fuel and operating costs than fossil fuel plants," he added.
Georgia Power estimates its proportionate share of the estimated in-service cost of the two units, based on its current ownership interest of 45.7%, at approximately $6.4 billion. The Georgia PSC certification process requires Vogtle's co-owners – Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities – to finalize their ownership percentages by 2 July 2008.