New Projects, Nuclear

DOE finalizes $6.5bn loan guarantee for new Plant Vogtle nuclear reactors

Georgia Public Service Commission Georgia Power Plant Vogtle spending not likely to be blocked nuclear

A $6.5 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia has been finalized.

Ernest Moniz, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), made the announcement during a speech at the National Press Club on the White House’s “all of the above” energy strategy on Feb. 19. Moniz also said that President Obama reiterated that nuclear power is included in the strategy.

“Tomorrow (Feb. 20), I will be traveling to Waynesboro, Ga. to finalize a $6.5 billion loan guarantee for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Vogtle nuclear generating plant,” Moniz said.

Moniz said the loan guarantees were originally designed to help build advanced nuclear reactors.

“We are working across the board to try to push the technology into the marketplace for all of our energy sources,” Moniz said.

The DOE first announced the $8.3 billion loan guarantee for Plant Vogtle co-owners Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) in 2010. Discussions were extended several times due to changing requirements and terms of the loans due to the fallout from the 2011 bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee.

While the DOE has finalized Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power’s loan guarantees, MEAG’s $1.8 billion loan guarantee remains outstanding, MEAG’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jim Fuller said in January that the company had to undergo a different process than the other companies, and its conditional commitment was extended to July 31, 2014.

Georgia Power and parent company Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) own 45.7 percent of the two reactors. The two 1,100 MW Westinghouse AP1000 units are under construction and expected to cost more than $14 billion. They are expected to begin commercial operations in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

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