Vogtle 3 and 4 construction continuation agreement through June 3
Late yesterday evening, Georgia Power announced that it and Westinghouse had come to an agreement – “in principle” – that would result in a transition of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project management from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power. The service agreement would not go into effect until after the current engineering, procurement and construction contract has been rejected in Westinghouse’s bankruptcy proceeding.
The transition agreement does not commit Georgia Power and its partners to a decision on the completion, partial completion or abandonment of the two unit construction project.
Construction work will continue as currently scheduled through June 3 under an interim assessment agreement while Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power continue their effort to produce a cost-to-complete estimate and an executable project schedule. Those items will be the basis for discussions with its ownership partners (Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities) and the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best course of action.
Georgia Power reiterated its determination to do everything in its power to hold Westinghouse and Toshiba, its parent company, accountable for meeting the commitments they have made.
As was the case two weeks ago, when the previous interim assessment agreement expired, Georgia Power’s press release was issued within a couple of hours of the midnight expiration. This time, the release was published at 10:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
There are no easy decisions available.
These very-short-term agreements look like kicking the can down the road.
My suspicion is that there is an effort by each side to wait out the other to make the first move to pull the plug. Toshiba is done with nuclear power and wants to put this behind them as quickly as possible and with minimal cost. if Vogtle/Summer are cancelled, Toshiba does not have to pay for parental guarantees. Toshiba does not want any revenue from the sale of WEC or its chip business to go down the AP1000 black hole. They may not even need to sell their chip business if the projects are cancelled. Toshiba will try to accomplish this without a bankruptcy if they can, with a bankruptcy if they must.
With major components already delivered, the revised costs and delays are largely due to poor labor productivity. This has been recognized for a year or two. Mitigating efforts have not appeared to be successful. What can the utilities as managers do that WEC could not?
The can has alotta dents already.
Looking at the recent pictures I could find, I get the impression that Vogtle 3+4 is less than halfway. That would imply that the intention to start with power production in ~2020 is unrealistic optimistic. That it will become 2023 at earliest.
Furthermore that the costs will escalate further.
Which implies that the French do a nice job with the EPR.
Similar or shorter construction periods and probably also lower costs.
I agree that the AP1000 schedules will likely slip again, increasing costs even further. These projects have turned into a real debacle.
I disagree that the EPR looks good in comparison. There is still not a functioning EPR anywhere in the world. Builds in Finland and France have been disasters. Chinese projects also years behind schedule.
The real winners are the South Koreans. The APR1400 is operating in SK and the builds in UAE have been on time/budget. If not for the UAE starting their regulatory body from nothing, they would be well on their way to getting their reactors up to full power operation.
I agree with you. Unfortunately, the South Korean voters have reacted to a corruption scandal by electing a new president who has advocated a goal of achieving “nuclear zero” by 2060. He proposes halting new construction and stopping the issuance of operating license extensions for existing plants. I have not yet found any information about his policies regarding the export market, but closing down the domestic industry would not help the marketing efforts at all.
Moon Jae-in’s energy policies were not a big part of the election campaign. However, voters that knew about them and still voted for Moon apparently thought they were the correct direction for the country to take.
2060 is quite far into the future. By 2060 all US reactors now operating would need licence extensions of up to 8o years. Now South Korea is totally dependent on energy imports for >99% of its coal, oil, and gas; after Japan, S. Korea is the world’s 2nd largest LNG importer. French & Swedish governments that once pledged to end their domestic fission program have come and gone.
S. Korea suffers the worst air quality within the OECD — 40% S. Korean burned coal in addition to neighboring Chinese coal fallout. Moon also pledged to shut down S. Korean coal plants and has already started. Moon admits the need to import even more LNG in order to back out of coal and nuclear. In the immediate short term this could benefit US LNG export plans. In 2017 and the foreseeable future ~1/3 of S. Korea’s electricity will likely end up being fission driven by its ~23GW(e) of capacity.
Threatened for the time being are two APR-1400 Shin Kori units a year into their construction. Kepco would otherwise be well positioned to take over Westinghouse (or their marketshare) as mentioned in Monday’s Bloomberg article quoting Rod.
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