Vogtle operation dates rescheduled

24 February 2017

Commercial operation dates for Vogtle units 3 and 4 have been put back to December 2019 and September 2020 respectively, Southern Company said on 22 February. These dates are six and three months later than previously expected.

Construction work at Vogtle 3 (Image: Georgia Power)

Announcing the company's fourth quarter results, 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.

Unit 3 had previously been expected to start commercial operation in mid-2019 and unit 4 in mid-2020. Experience gained at unit 3 is being applied at unit 4, resulting in improved productivity at the second unit, the company said. Commissioning of unit 4 has therefore been postponed by less time than for unit 3.

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.

Fanning said the customers and shareholders would be protected from cost increases as the company has fixed-price contracts with Westinghouse.

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 unit 3 in March 2013 and on unit 4 in November the same year. The units will be operated by Southern Nuclear Operating Company, which also operates Vogtle's two existing pressurised water reactors.

Two AP1000s under construction at VC Summer in South Carolina are currently expected to start operations in 2020, while the first two of four AP1000 units under construction in China - Sanmen 1 and Haiyang 1 - are expected to start before the end of this year. Sanmen 2 and Haiyang 2 are scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2017.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News