US-based engineering services firm Bechtel has been awarded a contract by Georgia Power to complete construction of the two-reactor expansion of a nuclear power plant near Augusta, Georgia.
Pursuant to the terms of the contract, Bechtel will be responsible for day-to-day construction through completion of the project under the management of Southern Nuclear, the Southern Company subsidiary which operates the existing two units at Plant Vogtle.
The developments come after Georgia Power filed a recommendation with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue construction of the Vogtle nuclear expansion near Augusta, Georgia.
Earlier in March, the erstwhile construction contractor, Westinghouse Electric Co, of Augusta nuclear power plant filed for bankruptcy protection, which put the future of the both nuclear power plants in limbo.
The project's co-owners, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, have extended their support to the recommendation.
Georgia Power believes that Vogtle Unit 3 and Unit 4 will reach commercial operation in November 2021 and November 2022, respectively. Once completed, both units will provide emission-free energy to more than 500,000 homes and businesses.
The new reactors will feature the Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurised water reactor technology, which allows nuclear cores to be cooled even in the absence of operator interventions or mechanical assistance.
Georgia Power, which owns 45.7% of the new units, has invested about $4.3bn in capital costs in the project through June 2017 and estimates that its cost to complete the project is approximately $4.5bn, for a total Georgia Power capital cost forecast of almost $8.8bn.
Based on the new assessments, the total estimated capital cost forecast for 100% of the project is approximately $19bn.