An energy subcommittee in the state House is scheduled to hear testimony today about a bill that would punish Southern Company for cost overruns at Plant Voglte near Augusta. The bill is a sign of buyer's remorse in the case of the expensive new nuclear project that rate-payers are financing in advance. The bill would trim the company's profits to penalize it for higher costs.
Southern Company has spent $1.8 billion dollars so far on two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. The once-secret number was revealed at a public hearing on the project's cost, estimated at $6 billion. The Public Service Commission is overseeing construction costs at the nation's first new nuclear reactors in three decades.
Federal regulators have given Southern Company final approval to build two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission vote means the nation's first new nuclear plant in three decades will be built south of Augusta. Environmental and consumer advocates are trying to halt construction.
Nuclear power plant expansions are moving forward in the South while they are stalled or have been scrapped in other parts of the country. The South's politics have a lot to do with that trend. Lawmakers here prefer regulated markets and smooth the way for expensive new reactors.