By Molly Samuel – WABE
Georgia regulators will decide next February whether or not to continue with a troubled nuclear plant expansion project. The future of two new nuclear reactors has been up in the air since the lead contractor went bankrupt earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to approve the schedule for a round of hearings on spending at Plant Vogtle. This is routine, every six months the utility presents its costs to the regulators.
What’s different this time around is that Georgia Power will also make its case to keep the project going, despite years of delays and a budget that has grown by billions of dollars. The utility expects to have both nuclear reactors in operation in 2022; they were initially supposed to be up-and-running by now. And the cost has doubled, to more than $20 billion.
Liz Coyle, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch, said she wants the big decision about the future of the plant to be separated from the spending hearings.
And she wants it to happen soon, since construction continues.
“Now they say we can drag that on until next February? And spend another half a billion dollars in the meantime? That’s unacceptable,” Coyle said.
The hearings at the Georgia PSC will begin in early November.
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