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Georgia Gets Nuclear Windfall From Federal Government

Where is South Carolina’s nuclear bailout?

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has given preliminary approval for $3.7 billion worth of federal loan guarantees related to Georgia’s troubled Plant Vogtle project.

That’s the massive expansion of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Burke County, Georgia – another next-generation twin-reactor project that was being built by now-bankrupt Westinghouse.

Sound familiar?  It should …

Westinghouse was the lead contractor on the recently scuttled V.C. Summer nuclear power station expansion project in Jenkinsville, South Carolina.  You know, #NukeGate … which depending on the outcome of state and federal criminal investigations has the potential to become the greatest political scandal in Palmetto State history.

According to reporter Russell Grantham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, $1.67 billion of the guaranteed federal loans will go to Georgia Power, $1.6 billion will go Oglethorpe Power and $415 million will go to various subsidiaries of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia.

“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,” U.S. energy secretary Rick Perry said in a statement.

Vogtle has already received $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees related to this project.

When construction began in 2009, Vogtle’s two new AP1000 pressurized water reactors were supposed to have been completed this year at a cost of roughly $12-14 billion.  Now the project is slated for completion in late 2022 – with a total price tag of at least $26 billion.

(Click to view)

(Via: Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

Again, if that sounds familiar … it should.

In South Carolina, publicly traded utility SCANA and government-owned power company Santee Cooper spent the past decade collaborating on the construction of two AP1000 reactors – which were supposed to have been operational a year ago at a cost of $9.8 billion.  The money was spent, but the reactors were never finished.   Or even half-finished.  Not only that, estimates indicate they could cost another $9-16 billion to complete.

Unable to pony up its share of that amount, Santee Cooper pulled the plug on the deal on July 31 … killing an estimated 5,600 jobs, squandering billions of dollars in investment (including more than $2 billion raised through rate increases on consumers), throwing the state’s energy future into chaos and costing the government utility its credit rating.

Documents released earlier this month revealed the utilities knew over a year-and-a-half ago the project was doomed – yet continued to raise rates on consumers anyway.

Not surprisingly, that’s led to a ton of lawsuits.  And the aforementioned criminal investigations.

Badly exposed state lawmakers have been doing their best to whitewash their culpability in this matter – efforts we have been exposing from the very beginning.  These machinations were doomed to fail considering many of the Senators and representatives currently “investigating” this disaster were directly responsible for bringing it about.

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Banner via Nuclear Regulatory Commission


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