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Obama’s Southern Company Play: How Much Nuclear Plant for $14.5 Billion, 80% Federally Guaranteed?

By Robert Peltier -- March 4, 2010

In August 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its fourth Early Site Permit for two new units at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle site and its first for the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor design. The two new units planned for Vogtle also became the reference plant for the AP1000 under NuStart in June 2009. This means Vogtle Units 3 and 4 will be the first licensed installations of the new AP1000 reactor design.

On February 16, President Obama announced that the DOE has offered Plant Vogtle terms for a loan guarantee that could provide up to 80% of the project estimated cost of $14.5 billion with the Southern Nuclear only paying a credit subsidy fee.

That’s a lot of commitment from taxpayers–$11.6 billion worth. Perhaps rapidly rising construction costs of new nuclear plants is partly why the owners want such large protection up front.…