Opinion: Time to kill Vogtle project

(AJC)

Here’s how off-track we’ve gotten in Georgia Power’s attempt to build two new nuclear plants:

If we stopped construction of the two half-built nuclear plants immediately, writing them off as a complete loss, then started from scratch with construction of brand new natural-gas plants, we would be able to generate the same amount of energy promised by those two abandoned nuke plants, while saving $1.6 billion.

Moreover, that estimate from the professional staff and consultants at the Georgia Public Service Commission probably underestimates the potential savings, and by a large margin. It assumes that Georgia Power will be able to meet its promised new construction deadlines of November 2021 and November 2022. Based on its long history of blown deadlines, that is a very large assumption indeed.

It becomes even more unlikely given that Southern Nuclear Co. — a sister company to Georgia Power — has now been forced to take over construction management of the project. Southern Nuclear is good at operating nuclear plants, but it has no experience in building them. As credit analysts for Moody’s warned, “We view nuclear plant construction as an activity well outside of Southern’s core competency of operating regulated electric and natural gas utility businesses.”

So if we add another two years to the latest construction schedule — a conservative estimate, given history — then the savings generated by instead abandoning the nuke plants and going to other power sources would double to $3.3 billion, according to the PSC staff analysis.

Georgia Power, of course, wants to finish the plants anyway, assuring us that investing another $6 billion as its share of the completion costs would still be cheaper in the long run for its customers. Again, it’s impossible to put much faith in that pledge, given how poorly its previous assurances have fared.

One thing we do know: Completing the plants would be good for Georgia Power, which is guaranteed a percentage of the total cost as its profit. The longer the project takes to build, the more expensive it becomes, the more profit that Georgia Power makes.

The PSC staff report lays it out pretty plainly:

“Due to the delays in the project, the company will collect considerably more in profit over the entire lifecycle of the units from ratepayers than it would have had the project been completed under the original schedule. The profit the company will collect will increase from approximately $7.4 billion to approximately $12.6 billion.”

That’s a $5 billion increase in profit over the life of the plants, all of which is attributable to delays and cost overruns. No, Georgia Power and its partners didn’t do that on purpose. Nobody is even suggesting such a thing. On the other hand, it also hasn’t had a strong financial incentive to bring the project in on time or on budget. In fact, the PSC staff report is pretty harsh in its assessment of the project:

“The company failed to manage the project and its contractor in a reasonable manner … the company’s failure to manage the project in a reasonable manner resulted in repeated schedule delays and increases in actual and projected costs …”

It’s also important to note that when Georgia Power first brought the nuclear proposal to the PSC seeking permission to proceed, “the company emphasized that it would be an active manager of the project.” Now that it has all but collapsed, the company insists that it bears no responsibility for its failure, and will take no responsibility for any future failure.

So kill it.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1229 comments
BTC
BTC

Wonder why Franken is waiting until the end of the year to leave the Senate when he announced his resignation today.   Does he have a vesting clause or year-end bonus or something?

Menace
Menace

@BTC  Probably wants to wait until his replacement is ready to function.  His absence would make their majority a bit worse on close votes.

Denise285
Denise285

He is probably watching the Alabama Senate race!!!

TBS
TBS

Reb

I'm sure you will be happy to know that job creation in 2016 through October is higher than in 2017.  If you take out the Jan numbers because new POTUS was only in office for a week there is an even larger difference. 

But overall job creation is still good just like it was last year so no doubt that's a plus for those seeking employment.


Enjoy the numbers


https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Denise285 There is only one standard that should be observed and it is not Mob Rule. If impeachment is called for that is what should have happened. The idea that mobs can push people out of office is completely disgusting. 

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Denise285 Payouts are a completely different issue and may rise to an impeachable offense. Either way, we need to follow the rule of law, not mob rules

Denise285
Denise285

It starts with transparency. The American people need to see a list of the representatives that were accused (sexual harassment) as well as how much was paid for those allegations. ....currently $17 million.

Denise285
Denise285

This is a grown woman involved in the conversation. The ethics commission is privy to the list of payouts (past and present) as well as who was accused. The info is probably classified. I doubt that an Open Records request could produce the info!!

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Remember, Trump pulled out of TPP, the US is no longer synchronized in global economy.  I love to bust your bubble @JohnnyReb , live for it.  LOL


 "The President would presumably want to take credit for the resurgence in manufacturing employment this year, but the synchronised global economic upturn and the weaker dollar are much bigger factors," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.


https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/06/private-payrolls-grow-by-190k-vs-185k-est-adp.html

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@InTheMiddle2 @StraightNoChaser @JohnnyReb But we do get hit with the differences.  Japan has put a 50% tarriff on U.S. beef imports while Australia pays only a 27% tarriff.  

The reason for the difference is Australia is a TPP member and the U.S. isn't.

What a great deal maker Trump is.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

During the run up to last November's election, Obama appeared at several locations campaigning for Hillary.

When asked about jobs returning the USA, Barry's reply was those jobs are gone.  We are in a new age, etc.

Obama went on about how Trump says the jobs will return but has no plan for bringing them back.

Seems again Barry does not know s hit from shinola.

It was just announced 40,000 new manufacturing jobs were established in Trump's first 10 months.

TBS
TBS

@JohnnyReb


You forgot to mention the following


"All told, in the year since Trump was elected, more than 93,000 jobs have been certified by the Department of Labor as lost to outsourcing or trade competition, slightly higher than the average of about 87,000 in the preceding five years. But federal contractors made up 10% of that number, rather than the previous average of 4%. That suggests companies that work for the government like General Motors, Boeing and United Technologies aren’t worried about political repercussions from the man in the White House."


https://qz.com/1144201/under-trump-us-jobs-are-moving-overseas-even-faster-than-before/


You are welcome.

Don't mention it



Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@JohnnyReb You really do not understand the economics of manufacturing jobs.  Please just admit it and stop looking stupid with posts like this.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

There are few Progs here caught in some kind of twisted time warp or else completely off their rocker.

They keep posting the same things about Trump they posted before last November's election.

It didn't work then, it does not work now.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@JohnnyReb 

You're not saying they're not true. 

You're just saying they "don't work."

Brosephus
Brosephus

@InTheMiddle2 

You've said something right for once.  Cons love their pols who are all about the feels.  The more feels, the more popular they are to the right.

honested
honested

@Brosephus @InTheMiddle2 

Since few legitimate venues will still book him, I'm sure the Alabama Republiklan Party annual meeting is his new cash cow.

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@JohnnyReb You couldn't understand the facts before last November's election and you still won't understand those same facts now.

Brosephus
Brosephus

https://tinyurl.com/y8kqgcxl

Dems got played.

Franken and Conyers?  Gone.

Farenthold used taxpayer dollars and is not being forced out, and Moore will win Tuesday.

Tactics.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Brosephus "accused of grabby behavior." 


Well, it does appear they actually exhibited grabby behavior. You know, like the President boasted about. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

I am so tired of Trump supporters calling Trump money laundering fake news.  Open your damn eyes, the stories have been out there for years. Trump is a criminal which is he sole motivator for attacking the justice department. No criminals like law enforcement to be poking around.


The Trump Taj Mahal casino broke anti-money laundering rules 106 times in its first year and a half of operation in the early 1990s, according to the IRS in a 1998 settlement agreement.

It's a bit of forgotten history that's buried in federal records held by an investigative unit of the Treasury Department, records that congressional committees investigating Trump's ties to Russia have obtained access to, CNN has learned.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/politics/trump-taj-mahal/index.html

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@InTheMiddle2 @StraightNoChaser It's still a criminal act. 


Trump's casino ended up paying the Treasury Department a $477,000 fine in 1998 without admitting any liability under the Bank Secrecy Act.


CNN obtained 417 pages of Treasury Department documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The records included the 1998 settlement, draft and final copies of a similar settlement in 2015, and exchanges between the Trump casino lawyers and federal regulators.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@StraightNoChaser @InTheMiddle2 Again. Paid the fine. Case closed. Also happened BEFORE he was POTUS. You don't get to prosecute twice. The feds had their chance already and settled. ANYTHING ELSE? 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@InTheMiddle2 @StraightNoChaser He's a criminal, criminals continue to break the law if they get away with it (just pay a fine). Are only black criminals repeat offenders?  Trump is hiding something and Mueller will find it.  Who was he laundering money for?  The Russians?  Is he compromised?  Of course he is.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@InTheMiddle2 @StraightNoChaser Yes it does, nothing happens around Trump that he does not know about.  So again, are blacks the only ones who are repeat offenders if they get away with breaking the law?  Of course they aren't.  All criminals are repeat offenders, including Trump.