WASHINGTON, D.C.—Southern Company and the U.S. Department of Energy today finalized the first federal loan guarantee for new nuclear plant construction for two advanced reactors being built at the Plant Vogtle power station in eastern Georgia. Following is a statement from Marvin Fertel, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer.
“The nuclear industry applauds the Department of Energy and Southern Company for fulfilling the promise of the clean-energy loan guarantee program enacted by Congress in 2005. The agreement demonstrates the Obama administration’s recognition of the key role nuclear energy must play in a successful clean energy policy. U.S. nuclear energy facilities have proven their ability to provide reliable, affordable electricity while protecting the environment.
“Loan guarantees have been in place for years and are a successful vehicle used by the federal government to ensure investment in critical infrastructure projects. In addition to electricity generation, these projects include shipbuilding, transportation infrastructure, exports and affordable housing. The loan guarantee program created in the 2005 Energy Policy Act will act as a catalyst in hastening the construction of low- and non-emitting sources of electricity, such as nuclear power plants.
“The use of loan guarantees allows for greater access to the capital markets resulting in lower-cost financing, thereby reducing the cost of electricity to consumers. This loan guarantee is expected to save Georgia Power customers $200 million on electricity costs.
“New nuclear plants also act as an economic force multiplier, which is clearly evidenced by the construction of the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors. Right now there are more than 3,000 construction workers on the plant site. A peak of 5,000 workers is expected later this year. Around 800 permanent employees will be needed to operate the new reactors when they go into commercial operation in 2017 and 2018."