August 22, 2018 Read More →

Florida muni calls for cancellation of Vogtle reactor project

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

The Jacksonville, Fla., municipal utility is ramping up efforts to exit a power contract tied to the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, with JEA’s interim CEO calling on the project’s owners to vote against continuing construction at the venture.

JEA is in a power purchase agreement, or PPA, with the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, one of Vogtle’s four owners known as MEAG, for 206 MW from two reactors being built at the Waynesboro, Ga., facility. Units 3 and 4 are years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, and one of Vogtle’s owners, Oglethorpe Power Corp., recently disclosed the project’s price tag is increasing by another $1.5 billion.

A week after lead Vogtle owner Southern Co. announced the most recent cost increase, JEA Interim Managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn wrote a letter on Aug. 17 to MEAG President and CEO Jim Fuller to express his “starkly different understanding of our joint business and legal relationship as well as the fundamental viability” of the project.

“Regardless of our past differences of opinion about whether the project should be abandoned, it is now beyond reasonable debate that prudent utility practices and the interests of ratepayers require that MEAG and the other owners of the Additional Units vote no on continuing construction,” Zahn wrote.

Vogtle is owned by Southern subsidiary Georgia Power Co., Oglethorpe, MEAG and Dalton Utilities. All but Dalton are slated to decide by the end of September whether to continue building the reactors after the cost increase. If just one votes no, Vogtle would be abandoned, leaving no active nuclear construction projects in the country.

More ($): JEA calls Vogtle agreement ‘burden,’ wants owners to vote against construction

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