US DOE extends Southern Company nuke loan guarantee deadline by one month

Philadelphia (Platts)--31Dec2013/1208 pm EST/1708 GMT

Southern Company has until January 31 to reach a final agreement with the US Department of Energy on a loan guarantee for the company's share of the two-unit, 2,234-MW Vogtle nuclear expansion project, Southern said Tuesday.

DOE's deadline for the Vogtle-3 and -4 loan guarantee conditional commitment, "which was previously set to expire December 31, has been extended to January 31," Southern spokesman Tim Leljedal said in an email.

"We are encouraged by recent progress in our loan guarantee negotiations as we work with the Department of Energy to address a few remaining points, including the need for intergovernmental agency review and approval," Leljedal said. Details about the negotiations between DOE and Southern are confidential, he said.

DOE in 2010 provided a total of $8.3 billion in conditional loan guarantees to Southern, Oglethorpe Power and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, which own virtually all of the two planned Vogtle units. Since then, the parties have been seeking to work out the specific terms of their individual deals with DOE.

Southern and its Georgia Power subsidiary hold a 45.7% ownership in the project, while Oglethorpe owns a 30% stake and MEAG owns a 22% share. The municipal utility in Dalton, Georgia, owns the remaining 1.6%.

Vogtle-3 is scheduled to begin commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2017, with Vogtle-4 to follow about a year later.

--Housley Carr, --Edited by Jeff Barber,