The stakes were high for Georgia Power and its parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., which became responsible for showing the nation that the nuclear industry could build two reactors without major technical problems, delays or cost overruns. Consumers already were on the hook, paying for Georgia Power’s $6.1 billion portion of the project through a fee on their monthly utility bills.
The $14 billion Vogtle expansion in Waynesboro — one of the largest economic development initiatives in state history — is behind schedule, and the nuclear revival hasn’t worked out the way the industry had hoped. Ample supplies of cheap natural gas and the sluggish economy are enemies No. 1 and 2. Widespread extraction of natural gas is making it the fuel of choice for utilities, which have little demand for new power plants in a weak economy.
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