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Industry News

Georgia Public Service Commission Unanimously Approves Continued Construction of Plant Vogtle

LCG, December 21, 2017--The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) today unanimously approved Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power's recommendation to complete construction of Vogtle Units 3 and 4. The project's owners have agreed to new penalties for delays and cost increases stipulated by the PSC.

Plant Vogtle is a nuclear power electric generating plant near Waynesboro, Georgia with two units currently in operation. When construction is complete and Units 3 and 4 are fully operational, they will add another 2,200 MW of electric generating capacity. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since 1987 and 1989 respectively.

The PSC has been considering the recommendation put forward in August by the owners of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 - Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities - to continue construction of the two Westinghouse AP1000 units. That recommendation was based on the results of a comprehensive schedule, cost-to-complete and cancellation assessment undertaken by the plant's owners following contractor Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in March.

Georgia Power's chairman, president and CEO stated, "The decision to complete Vogtle 3 and 4 is important for Georgia's energy future and the United States. The Georgia Public Service Commission has shown leadership in making this complex and difficult decision and recognized that the Vogtle expansion is key to ensuring that our state has affordable and reliable energy today that will support economic growth now and for generations to come," he added.

The Governor of Georgia praised the decision, "I commend the Public Service Commission for its vision and foresight in approving continuation of the Plant Vogtle expansion while holding the owners accountable to ratepayers. Investing in clean, sustainable energy infrastructure is a worthwhile endeavor that will have a positive economic impact as well. Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 will provide affordable energy to Georgians for more than 60 years while creating 6,000 jobs during project construction and 800 well-paying, permanent ones after. It is important that we stay the course."

Highlights of the Commission's decision include: (i) the Commission determined that Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 should be completed; (ii) the Commission approved and verified $542 million in expenditures on the Vogtle Construction project from January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017; (iii) the Commission approves and finds reasonable the Company's revised schedule and cost forecast; and (iv) the Company's return on equity (ROE) used to determine the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) tariff will be reduced from 10% to 8.3% on January 1, 2020 and will be further reduced to 5.3% beginning January 1, 2021.

Georgia Power is actively supporting federal legislation to enable the Vogtle plant to continue to qualify for advanced nuclear production tax credits (PTCs) if the units enter service after January 2021, the current deadline for eligibility. The current project schedule shows Unit 3 and Unit 4 starting commercial operation in November 2021 and November 2022, respectively.

Construction has continued uninterrupted at Vogtle following Westinghouse's bankruptcy. Southern Nuclear assumed the role of project manager at the site and Bechtel is managing construction. "Progress is steady and evident, illustrated by multiple recent achievements such as the placement of new shield building panels for both units, placement of the 52-ton CA02 module for Unit 4 and the installation of the first steam generator," Georgia Power said.

Georgia Power filed the Application for Certification of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 with the PSC in August 2008, and the PSC approved the need and cost effectiveness of the project in March 2009. In April 2009, Vogtle Units 3 and 4 were named the U.S. nuclear industry reference plant for the AP1000. As the reference plant, these units will be the first in America licensed to operate using AP1000 technology. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the Construction and Operating Licenses (COLs) for the units in February 2012.
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