DOE Loan Guarantees Back Vogtle Completion

"Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security," Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

One month after Georgia Power filed a recommendation Aug. 31 that construction of the Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear power expansion project near Augusta, Ga., continue, and with Bechtel selected to complete the job's construction, the U.S. Department of Energy announced conditional commitments for up to $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to Vogtle's owners. Westinghouse Electric's bankruptcy filing in March 2017 put the project's completion in jeopardy, and the Georgia Public Service Commission had indicated it would decide on the recommendation in February 2018.

Critics say continuing the project is too costly and the two new reactors' power, to be available in November 2022, is no longer required by the owners' customers.

Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the new units; co-owners Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities supported the recommendation to continue the project.

The new reactors would be the first in the United States to use Westinghouse AP1000 technology. Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Company, said in August 2017 that it had invested approximately $4.3 billion in capital costs in the project through June 2017 and its estimated cost to complete the project is approximately $4.5 billion. The total estimated capital cost forecast for 100 percent of the project is approximately $19 billion, the company reported.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced Sept. 29 conditional commitments for up to $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to the owners: $1.67 billion to Georgia Power Company, $1.6 billion to Oglethorpe Power Corporation, and $415 million to three subsidiaries of Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power). The department had already guaranteed $8.3 billion in loans to GPC, OPC, and MEAG Power subsidiaries to support construction of Vogtle Units 3 and 4. "I believe the future of nuclear energy in the United States is bright and look forward to expanding American leadership in innovative nuclear technologies," Perry said. "Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security."

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