Stan Wise, Chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, welcomed today’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission vote as bringing “certainty” to a project that is “$2 billion in the ground and $13 billion to go.”

The project structure Georgia Power and its parent, Southern Company, have set up, with Shaw as constructor and Westinghouse as nuclear vendor under contracts specifying schedule and budget, is vital to ensuring there are no cost overruns as there were in the 1980s when Georgia Power built Vogtle-1 and -2, he said.

Read here on Breaking Energy about the close scrutiny the new units will endure as the first new US nuclear units to clear NRC certification in decades.

The PSC gets monthly reports from its consultant, Dr. William Jacobs of GDS, Wise said, who is tasked to alert the PSC to any “blips.” The regulators hold a former review every six months, and will till the project is on line. Unit 3 is scheduled for completion in 2016 and unit 4, in 2017.

The project is about on schedule so far, he said, and he feels the nuclear project is necessary for Georgia’s future. “There is no way we can meet clean air standards without nuclear,” he said.

Wise pointed out that Georgia Power is the lead utility but more than half the plant is owned by a coop and a muni. He said the PSC has heard “nothing but unqualified support” from GP’s partners.