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Georgia cooperatives move to freeze nuclear costs at USD8.1B

ATLANTA (AP) – One of the owners of a nuclear power plant being expanded in Georgia said it’s shifting overruns to Georgia Power Co in exchange for giving up a sliver of its ownership.

Oglethorpe Power Corp which provides power to 38 electric cooperatives, said on Saturday that it has exercised a contractual option to freeze its costs for Plant Vogtle at USD8.1 billion.

Oglethorpe said that at Vogtle’s current projected cost of USD30.34 billion, it would save members at least USD400 million. In exchange, Oglethorpe’s ownership share of the two new reactors being built at the plant east of Augusta would fall from 30 per cent to 28 per cent. That would bump Georgia Power’s share of ownership from 45.7 per cent to 47.7 per cent

If costs rise further, Oglethorpe would save more, but give up a larger share of its ownership.

Georgia Power officials have said they don’t expect regulators with the Georgia Public Service Commission to approve customers paying further costs. That means shareholders of Georgia Power’s parent – Atlanta-based Southern Co – would pay.

Georgia Power didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Oglethorpe, Georgia Power and Vogtle’s two other owners – the Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton – have been arguing over Georgia Power’s obligations to start absorbing more costs.

The cooling towers of the still under construction Plant Vogtle nuclear energy facility in Waynesboro. PHOTO: AP