Georgia Power said it reached a new agreement with Toshiba Corp. and its bankrupt subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, that firms up billions of dollars in guarantees and support contracts for its troubled Plant Vogtle nuclear project.
The project to build two new reactors at the complex near Augusta has been under a cloud since Westinghouse, the main contractor in the project, filed bankruptcy in late March.
“We are happy to have Toshiba’s cooperation in connection with this agreement which provides a strong foundation for the future of these nuclear power plants,” said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company, Georgia Power’s parent company.
Under the new agreements, Toshiba affirmed its guarantees to Georgia Power under the original contract, at a value of $3.68 billion, and set the first payment to be made in October.
Georgia Power also said that a new service agreement with Westinghouse will take effect after the bankruptcy court has rejected the previous contract. The new agreement “allows for the transition of project management” at Plant Vogtle to Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear, the Atlanta-based utility said Friday.
Georgia Power said the new agreement includes engineering, procurement and licensing support and continued access to Westinghouse’s designs for the new nuclear reactors.
The deal also extended a similar temporary agreement with Westinghouse until June 22 while the parties await the court’s decision.
Georgia Power and its project partners are evaluating what to do with the Vogtle expansion. The project, which is also partly owned by Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, is more than $3 billion over budget and over three years behind schedule.
The Georgia Public Service Commission has said whatever option the partners recommend — continuing construction, shutting the project down, or converting all or part of it to other types of power plants — will require the utility regulator’s approval.
Meanwhile, one of the PSC’s commissioners has recommended that Georgia Power stop collecting surcharges on customers’ monthly bills to finance the Vogtle project’s construction. The proposal appears to face steep legal challenges, and Georgia Power has said it plan to keep collecting the the surcharge, which adds about $100 annually to the typical residential customer’s bill.
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