Work is progressing well on two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, just south of Augusta, according to Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers.
But Bowers said the scale of the construction project, the first new reactors in the United States in more than 30 years, is enormous.
“We have the world’s largest crane at Plant Vogtle (over 500 feet),” he said.
Bowers spoke Thursday night at the Cohutta Springs Conference Center during the Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce’s 35th annual banquet.
Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of Plant Vogtle, which has two reactors that went into service in the late 1980s. Dalton Utilities (1.6 percent), Oglethorpe Power Corp. (30 percent) and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7 percent) own the rest.
The two new reactors are scheduled to go online in four to five years.
Bowers noted the rapid rise in oil production as well as the rapid increase, and falling prices, in natural gas production. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has opened up vast new sources of energy.
He noted that Georgia Power is diversifying its production assets and said the United States needs to develop a comprehensive energy policy that can make the country more competitive and more secure.
Bowers also noted that Georgia’s economy was hit hard by the recession. But he said that, from Georgia Powers’ vantage point, he saw signs of a turnaround in 2012 and the first quarter of this year, with the company adding new customers.
“There is hope on the horizon,” he said.
During the event, the chamber named:
• Andy Fraser the Chatsworth Police Officer of the Year.
• Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful the Business of the Year.
• Melvin Silvers the Businessman of the Year.
• Mary Weaver the Businesswoman of the Year.
• Merinda Silvers the Humanitarian of the Year.
• Peggy Hallman the Delegate of the Year.
Eton Mayor Billy Cantrell received the Chairman’s Award.