New Projects, Nuclear

Southern Company Requests $3.7 Billion from Toshiba to Finish Vogtle

By Editors of Power Engineering

Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning has said the company needs $3.7 billion and cooperation from Toshiba to finish the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion in Georgia, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The plant was being constructed by Toshiba’s now-bankrupt Westinghouse subsidiary. Fanning said he wasn’t certain Toshiba can finish the half-built reactors, even with the extra money.

“We are working with Toshiba to receive complete assurance as to the $3.7B guarantee that they owe us, whether we finish the project or not,” Fanning said.

Though Toshiba said it has $5.8 billion in parent-company guarantees on Westinghouse’s behalf, the company hasn’t specified which portion, if any, has been set aside for Vogtle.

The Wall Street Journal indicated Southern has only agreed to continue paying for construction through May 12, and will conclude negotiations with Toshiba in the next two weeks.

Southern subsidiary Georgia Power has also objected to a proposed $800 million bankruptcy loan to Westinghouse, objecting to the potential of the lender putting a lien on the power plant.

Fanning said the company hasn’t decided if it will finish building the plant even if the loan is granted, and Southern will recommend to its co-owners and state regulators whether to proceed within the next two months.

Units 3 and 4 for Vogtle are now three years behind schedule and $1.3 billion over budget. Westinghouse is also building a nuclear expansion at the Virgil C. Sumner nuclear station in South Carolina for SCANA.

Westinghouse filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, and Toshiba indicated it would exit nuclear construction due to $6 billion in losses.