The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will approve approximately $6.5bn in loan guarantees for the construction of two new Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle electric generating station, also known as Plant Vogtle, in Georgia.
Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and the City of Dalton in Georgia are the partners in the Vogtle project that is being constructed by a consortium led by Southern.
In 2010, the DOE made conditional commitments for a total of $8.33bn in loan guarantees for Plant Vogtle.
The DOE, on 20 February 2014, will issue loan guarantees of approximately $6.5bn to Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power, while it continues to work on the remaining conditional commitments for a $1.8bn loan guarantee to MEAG.
The total cost of the Vogtle nuclear reactors is estimated at $14bn.
Plant Vogtle is eligible for loan guarantees since it is expected to cut down nearly ten million tonnes carbon dioxide emissions a year. Additionally, the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor has incorporated numerous innovations resulting in significant operational and safety improvements.
It represents the first new nuclear facilities in the US to begin construction and receive the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission license in nearly three decades.
Deployment of the two new 1,100MW Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors will supplement the two existing reactor units at the Vogtle project. Unit 1 began commercial operation in May 1987, while Unit 2 in May 1989. Each unit is capable of generating 1,215MW.
The project is expected to provide around 3,500 onsite construction jobs and around 800 permanent jobs once the units begin operation. Once operational, the new nuclear reactors will supply enough reliable energy to power approximately 1.5 million US homes.
The US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz noted the innovative technology used in this project represents a new generation of nuclear power with advanced safety features and demonstrates renewed leadership from the US nuclear energy industry.