US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on 29 September announced conditional commitments for up to $3.7bn in loan guarantees to further support the construction two AP1000 reactors at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia.
The Vogtle 3&4 project is jointly owned by Georgia Power Company (GPC) Oglethorpe Power Corporation (OPC) and three subsidiaries of Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power). The loan guarantee funding includes $1.67bn for GPC, $1.6bn for OPC, and $415m for MEAG Power. The funds are in addition to $8.3bn in loans to GPC, OPC, and MEAG Power subsidiaries which the Department of Energy (DOE) has already guaranteed to support the construction of Vogtle 3&4.
“I believe the future of nuclear energy in the United States is bright and look forward to expanding American leadership in innovative nuclear technologies,” said Secretary Perry. “Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security."
The Vogtle project is the first new nuclear plant to be licensed and begin construction in the USA in more than three decades and is the first US deployment of Westinghouse AP1000 technology. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorised DOE to issue loan guarantees for projects that employ new or significantly improved technologies and avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. If the new Vogtle loan guarantees are approved, they would be the first issued under the $12.5bn Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects Solicitation issued in December 2014.
The news was welcomed by the US Industry. Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute commented:
"We applaud Secretary Perry’s decision to extend up to $3.7 billion in additional loan guarantees to support completion of the construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. The twin reactors being built there are the only advanced reactors currently being built in the U.S. and their completion is absolutely critical to help maintain American leadership in nuclear technology.