Loan process 'on track' for Vogtle reactors

Southern Co. expects to meet June 18 deadline

Southern Co. expects to meet a June 18 deadline to accept a federal loan guarantee package to help finance two new reactors at Plant Vogtle.


"The process is on track, and all indications are that it will be completed by then," company spokesman Jason Cuevas said.

The government's February offer was the first of its kind and authorizes up to $8.3 billion in loan guarantees. Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power -- which owns a 45.7 percent stake in Vogtle -- would borrow up to $3.4 billion. The offer carried a 90-day acceptance deadline that was extended 30 days after an April request by Southern Co. CEO David Ratcliffe.

Once the terms of the loan guarantees have been negotiated, the funds are placed on hold until the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issues a combined operating license for Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which would go online in 2016 and 2017 at a cost estimated at $14.5 billion.

"No draw on the loan would occur until the COL is received, which is expected the second or third quarter of next year," Cuevas said.

Ebony Meeks, a U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman in Washington, also said the negotiations are on track to meet this month's deadline.

"That is our concurrence as well," she said. "We granted the 30-day extension, and we are confident it will be worked out by then."

Other owners of the Vogtle project are Oglethorpe Power Corp. (30 percent), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7 percent) and the City of Dalton, Ga. (1.6 percent).

Although the Vogtle project is first in line for the federal loan guarantee program aimed at accelerating a revival in nuclear power plant construction, three other projects -- including one in South Carolina -- also are vying for a share of the remaining capital.

The other companies are SCANA, which has proposed adding two reactors to its V.C. Summer Plant in South Carolina; NRG Energy Inc., for a project in Texas; and Constellation Energy of Maryland.