DOE guarantees $1.67 billion in loans for Plant Vogtle

Georgia Power sign at Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Cobb County accompanying article about restory powerGeorgia Power sign at Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Cobb County (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Georgia Power announced in a news release today that the U.S. Department of Energy has guaranteed approximately $1.67 billion in additional loans for the new, and long-controversial Plant Vogtle nuclear plant’s units 3 and 4.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry made the announcement today near Waynesboro close to the plant.  According to the press release, the crowd on hand to hear Perry make the announcement included Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey, Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning, Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Paul Bowers and hundreds of workers and special guests.

“The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry,” said Secretary Perry. “A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid, and strengthens our energy and national security. As I’ve witnessed firsthand today, Vogtle is also an energy infrastructure project with a massive scope employing thousands of workers. This project is rebuilding a highly skilled U.S. nuclear workforce and supply chain for the future.”

Georgia Power Chairman and CEO Bowers said, “Since the project began, we have committed to minimize the impact these new units will have on customers’ bills, and securing these loans plays a key role by reducing our financing costs and passing along those benefits to our customers. We thank the administration, DOE, Secretary Rick Perry and members of Congress for their continued support of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project.”

Perry was on hand for the placement of the top of the containment vessel for Unit 3.  According to Georgia Power, that signifies that all modules and large components have been placed inside the unit.

Bowers said, ““We have made significant progress since taking over construction at the site and expect that momentum to continue this year. Placement of the Unit 3 top head is a historic milestone for the project, reflecting the hard work and dedication of the Vogtle 3 & 4 team as we transition these units closer to operation.”

Controversy surrounding Plant Vogtle

Plant Vogtle has long been controversial, both from environmentalists opposed to nuclear energy, and as a result of construction delays and cost overruns.

Dawn Randolph, an unsuccessful 2018 candidate for a Public Service Commission seat, said at a Sierra Club forum last July, “We’re talking about a project that was supposed to create two new nuclear reactors, (that are) $14 billion over budget, and five years behind schedule. Now as a military affairs person, and living around the world, nuclear is part of our energy portfolio. But we also have to make sure it’s fair and affordable. And right now, that project is not fair, and it is not affordable.”