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Nuclear plant expansion could cost less than planned

ATLANTA -- The price tag for Georgia Power's share of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle is $1.5 billion less than originally budgeted.

Georgia Power officials told the state Public Service Commission on Tuesday that the costs went down because it's being allowed to charge ratepayers before the new reactors are finished. That will boost utility bills for customers beginning in 2011, but company officials say it will save ratepayers money down the road by lowering interest costs.

The company also told the regulatory panel that construction is on schedule and within budget.

The project, near Augusta, is scheduled to be completed in 2017. It could be the first new nuclear project to break ground in the country in three decades.