Southern Co. Chief Executive Officer Thomas Fanning has said that the company is seeking $3.7 billion in guarantees from Toshiba Corporation, parent of bankrupt Westinghouse Electric Company, to allow completion of the Plant Vogtle expansion project in Georgia.
Fanning told the Wall Street Journal that he is seeking the guarantees, but he also said that the $3.7 billion may not be enough to guarantee completion of the two-reactor project that is being by Westinghouse, which filed for Chapter 11 protection on March 29.
Last week, Southern announced it had reached an agreement with Westinghouse to continue the construction project on an interim basis, putting off until May 12 a decision on whether or not to complete the project, cancel it or have the project morph into something else, like building a natural gas-fired power plant.
At least one media report says that Southern is also working with the Trump administration and Congress to help secure guarantees that would see the project through to completion.
In a conference call, Fanning told investors that it would be “in the next month or two” that Southern would know whether the project would continue or not.
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Do not be surprised if this turns out to be positioning for a Southern attempt to acquire Westinghouse from Toshiba. The Westinghouse core business is highly profitable. It would be extremely surprising, however, for the othe utilities with Westinghouse nuclear steam supply systems to stand by and allow Southern to become their NSSS vendor/contractor.