Nuclear power important for national energy policy: Chu

Two days after the Department of Energy (DOE) requested more than $770 million for nuclear energy in 2013, on Feb. 15, Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu told workers at Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle that nuclear power will continue to be an important part of the energy mix in the United States and around the world.

In a speech before several hundred plant employees, Dr. Chu outlined a national energy policy that values the role nuclear plays in confronting energy security and jobs creation in a struggling global economy. Vogtle is the site of the U.S.'s next new nuclear units, the first to be built in a generation.

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a blueprint for an American economy that is built to last and develops every available source of American energy," said Secretary Chu. "Nuclear power is an important part of that blueprint. The work being done in Georgia and at research organizations like Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping restore American leadership in the global race for the nuclear energy jobs of tomorrow."

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Feb. 9 issued the combined construction and operating License (COL) for Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first such license for a U.S. nuclear plant.

The company said it expects to deliver to Georgia Power customers more than $1 billion in benefits from the DOE loan guarantees, production tax credits and recovering financing costs during construction. Georgia Power expects Unit 3 to begin operating in 2016 and Unit 4 in 2017.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co., will operate the two new 1,100 MW Westinghouse AP1000 units for Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.

Read all of Secretary Chu’s prepared remarks by clicking here.

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