At Vogtle: $1.67B Loan Guarantees And Unit 3 Milestone

Dignitaries including U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and North America's Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey were on hand along with Southern Company and Georgia Power officers as the companies announced the closing of approximately $1.67 billion in additional Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees to be applied to the Plant Vogtle expansion project. Dignitaries also watched the top of the containment vessel for Unit 3 hoisted into place.

Vogtle NPP expansionSouthern Company Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning, Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Paul Bowers, hundreds of workers, assorted special guests were in attendance as well. Among the special attendees were Georgia Public Service Commissioners Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, Tim Echols, Chuck Eaton, Tricia Pridemore and Jason Shaw along with U.S. Representatives Rick Allen and Buddy Carter, and Vogtle 3 & 4 co-owners: Oglethorpe Power President and CEO Mike Smith, MEAG Power President and CEO Jim Fullerand Dalton Utilities CEO Tom Bundros.

"The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration's direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry," said Secretary Perry. "A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid, and strengthens our energy and national security. As I've witnessed firsthand today, Vogtle is also an energy infrastructure project with a massive scope employing thousands of workers. This project is rebuilding a highly skilled U.S. nuclear workforce and supply chain for the future."

Georgia Power had previously secured loan guarantees of $3.46 billion for the construction of the new units, the first to be built in the United States in more than 30 years (and after the cessation of expansion work at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina, the only current domestic nuclear power plant projects in the United States). 

"Since the project began, we have committed to minimize the impact these new units will have on customers' bills, and securing these loans plays a key role by reducing our financing costs and passing along those benefits to our customers," said Bowers.

Secretary Perry also witnessed one of the most important milestones for the project to date – the placement of the top of the containment vessel for Unit 3, signifying that all modules and large components have been placed inside the unit.

"The progress we are marking today is a direct result of the tremendous support the project has received," said Fanning. "From the very beginning, public and private partners have stood with us as we endeavor to build the first new nuclear development in the U.S. in a generation. Everyone involved in the project remains focused on sustaining our momentum and is poised to execute on the important work to come in the days ahead."

Said Bowers, "placement of the Unit 3 top head is a historic milestone for the project, reflecting the hard work and dedication of the Vogtle 3 & 4 team as we transition these units closer to operation."

The containment vessel is a high-integrity steel structure that houses critical plant components. The top head is 130 feet in diameter, 37 feet tall, and weighs nearly 1.5 million pounds, more than two fully loaded jumbo jets. It's comprised of 58 large plates, welded together, each more than an inch and a half thick.

Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the new units, with the project's other co-owners including Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

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