New nuclear power plants are projects of immense scope and magnitude in the world of infrastructure development. Reports of periodic cost or schedule variances can be highly misleading if treated in a vacuum and if they fail to take into account the vast scope of the project.
Short-term cost and schedule variances are simply snapshots in time. As such, they do not reflect factors such as long-term contracts for materials, labor at set prices, lower-than-forecast interest rates and other related financing costs.
The real gauge of a project’s success or failure is not the variance itself, rather how the company handles these challenges and prepares for contingencies. In view of all these factors, nuclear energy projects in Georgia and South Carolina have experienced no setbacks that would jeopardize their ability to finish on time and within budget and meet customer expectations.In planning new electricity generating capacity, an energy company takes into account a wide variety of factors. Fuel diversity is among the most important factor, as a company must ensure it is not dependent on one particular source of power, given fluctuations in fuel supply and costs. Even international trade issues can put one fuel source at a disadvantage. Companies also must take into account the need to have reliable, baseload power—electricity that is available 24/7.