More than thirty years have passed since America built any new nuclear reactors. Now, that’s all about to change.
Mindful of the growing importance of nuclear energy to a sustainable clean energy future, the Obama Administration provided a $6.5 billion loan to Southern Company for the build out of the Vogtle nuclear plan in Georgia. While the agreement ultimately called for an $8.3 billion loan, a $1.8 billion guarantee was for the project’s co-owner, Oglethorpe Power and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. Southern Company is the project’s largest stakeholder, owning 45.7% of the Vogtle expansion project.
Two new nuclear reactors are currently under construction at the Vogtle plant, and the partner utilities expect to activate the first by late-2017, with the other scheduled to come online one year later.
Now that construction is underway, Georgia Power, the Southern Company subsidiary that owns Plant Vogtle, reports that the project is on schedule and within budget. In total, the build out of the new reactors will cost $14 billion, with $6.1 of that coming from Georgia Power.
Although the plant additions were originally one-year behind schedule, construction crews have been able to keep pace with the revised schedule and Georgia Power administrators have reduced the overall financing costs of construction by $91 million.
In all, ratepayers will now face a two to four percent decrease in costs for the construction of the plant, not to mention that with construction comes new job opportunities at the reactor site.
“It was a good value when it was certified,” said Buzz Miller, Georgia Power’s Executive Vice President for Nuclear Development. “It’s a better value now.”
In addition to the loan guarantees announced by the Obama Administration on February 20, Southern Company has earned federal tax credits for hitting timeliness benchmarks for Plant Vogtle’s expansion construction. In the end, consumers now receive the benefit of clean energy technology at a much lower rate than was previously anticipated.