Future brightens a bit for Vogtle nuclear project

Future brightens a bit for Vogtle nuclear project

All eyes are on Georgia and on the future of nuclear power in this country regarding the unfinished construction of two new nuclear electricity generating units at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. A bright spot occurred this week when the Georgia Power Co., a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Southern Company, entered into a new agreement with Toshiba, the parent company of Vogtle contractor Westinghouse.

The agreement affirms the value of Toshiba’s guarantee at $3.68 billion – providing additional protections for Georgia electric customers following Westinghouse’s March bankruptcy. A company media release also said “Georgia Power and Westinghouse have finalized a new service agreement which allows for the transition of project management at the Vogtle expansion from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power. The service agreement is subject to approval of the Westinghouse Board of Directors and certain other conditions, including bankruptcy court approval.”

“We are pleased with today’s positive developments with Toshiba and Westinghouse that allow momentum to continue at the site while we transition project management from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “We are continuing to work with the project’s co-owners to complete our full-scale schedule and cost-to-complete analysis and will work with the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best path forward for our customers.”

Toshiba (which is partially owned by the Japanese government) has been very cooperative in recent negotiations concerning future Vogtle construction. In fact, “this agreement …provides a strong foundation for the future of these nuclear power plants” says Southern Co. Chairman and CEO Tom Fanning.

In addition to affirming the value of $3.68 billion of funding from Toshiba, Georgia Power’s media release further says “the new agreement also adds clarity on the timing and form of payments for that obligation. Parent guarantees were put in place to protect Georgia electric customers as part of the original contract and the first payment under the new agreement is due from Toshiba in October 2017.”

The scope of the service agreement with Westinghouse includes engineering, procurement and licensing support, as well as access to Westinghouse intellectual property needed for the project.