Vogtle nuclear power plant loan guarantee talks extended

The U.S. government has issued a third deadline extension to Southern Co. on negotiations for a federal loan guarantee for the financing of the two new nuclear reactors at Southern Co.'s Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia, according to the Associated Press.

The deadline for an agreement has been extended to September 30. The loan guarantee offer from the Department of Energy would have the federal government assume the company’s debt, up to $8.3 billion, if it defaults. A deal has been in negotiation since 2010 though no agreement on details has been reached, according to the Power Engineering.

In February 2010, the DOE conditionally offered Southern Co. and its partners a total of $8.33 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to construct two 1,100 MW Westinghouse AP1000 reactors (reactors No. 3 and 4) at Southern Co.'s Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia.

The two new reactors are estimated to cost more than $14 billion and come online in 2017 and 2018, respectively. However, construction delays and pending lawsuits have already pushed the project's commercial operating date back a year and could cause increases in project costs.

In a February 2013 report to the Georgia Public Service Commission, Georgia Power (a unit of Southern Co.) requested approval for additional project costs totaling $737 million, potentially raising the initial $14 billion estimate to $14.7 billion.

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