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Southern Nears Business Reactor Approvals


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FEBRUARY 9, 2012

Southern Nears Reactor Approvals
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Federal regulators are expected to give Southern Co. the green light on Thursday to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first approval of a new U.S. nuclear project in over three decades. The approval is expected to kick off a new construction cycle that could lead to at least four new reactors going up over the next several years. U.S. nuclear construction has been stalled by safety concerns and cost overruns that followed the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania in 1979. Atlanta-based Southern says that is changing. "Somebody had to be first, and we are absolutely the right company to go first and lead the renaissance," said Tom Fanning, chief executive of the company, which expects the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to grant it combined construction and operating licenses for two reactors at its meeting Thursday. The NRC approval is "a big deal," said Dimitri Nikas, utilities analyst for Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. "It shows companies can build these projects, once again," he said, noting that Southern is the first to complete a streamlined licensing process at the NRC and will build a new kind of reactor with added safety features.
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Southern Co. is attempting to expand its Vogtle nuclear site in Georgia.

Southern expects to spend $6.1 billion for its 45.7% share of the roughly $14 billion

project. Partners Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton, Ga., will contribute the rest of the money and split ownership. The federal government is providing the project $8.3 billion in loan guarantees and other subsidies under a program that was begun in 2005 to jump-start new reactor construction. Congressional Republicans have clamored for additional loan guarantees to expand the program, and President Barack Obama has proposed tripling the program to about $54 billion. Loan guarantees are crucial because nuclear plants have very high capital costs and it takes a long time to build them, increasing financing costs. Capital is expensive because

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2/9/2012 3:47 PM

Even forthcoming regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency designed to limit carbon emissions will favor other forms of electricity generation more than nuclear power. at the time.. is next in line to receive NRC licenses to build the same type of Westinghouse reactors in South JOIN THE DISCUSSION MORE IN 2 of 4 2/9/2012 3:47 PM . Finance & Accounting Jobs Healthcare Revenue Cycle / Operations Consultants Resources Global Professionals Senior Accountant w/ COSTPOINT! .87 billion." said Stephen Smith. power prices were higher and Congress was considering setting limits on carbon emissions. a consulting firm. Officials Lower Jobless Forecast Memory Gets Jolt in Brain Research Fines Set in Indiana Collapse States May Get Waivers From the No Child Left Behind Law Modified Insider Bill Poised to Pass House Federally Backed Car Maker Hits Bump GOP Takes Aim at Contraception Rule Coalition Slams Cuts to Transit Funds Pennsylvania Lawmakers Pass Gas-Drilling Bill More Headlines Write to Rebecca Smith at rebecca. Scana Corp. Fanning said "just about everything is different" today regarding its nuclear ambitions. which critics say leaves the public in the dark. The cost was more than four times Southern's market capitalization.PNC Financial Services Group Inc.Southern Nears Reactor Approvals . It gets half its power from coal and says it wants more "energy diversity. In the end.Robert Half Finance & Accounting FIND JOBS MORE JOBS AND CAREER NEWS Technology Jobs | IT Jobs | Sales Jobs | Marketing Jobs FINS for Employers & Recruiters » POST A JOB More in Business Diamond Ousts Top Executives Credit Suisse Swings To Surprise Loss Vodafone Hit By Europe Woes Banks Near $25 Billion Pact on Foreclosures Alibaba Wants Its Stake Back Most Popular Read Emailed Video Commented 1." said Rick Fultineer. the partners took a total of $1. The nation has 104 operating reactors.S. at least in the near future.Mergis Group Mortgage Loan Officer-Westminster . but 95 others were canceled after the Three Mile Island incident. The group thinks money should be spent on energy efficiency. "it's questionable whether other units will follow. and NRG Energy Inc. has been unwavering in its determination to build new reactors. which would have helped nuclear operators.smith@wsj.S. creating bankruptcy worries. stronger company with stock worth $38 billion.. Those limits haven't been imposed. Electricity demand was stronger. Southern said its load-growth forecast is a trade secret shared with regulators. Senior Financial Analyst . the NRC overhauled its processes. —Keith Johnson contributed to this article. at $1. when construction is done. spokesman for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.8 billion. expected in 2017. even as other companies like Exelon Corp.. gas-fired power plants. last March.100-megawatt reactors. In the past. 3. Southern was forced to bring in partners.1 billion in charges and raised customer rates to cover their costs. They were supposed to cost $660 million but totaled $8.wsj.WSJ. 5. Industry watchers said conditions were more favorable for the new reactors when Southern started the licensing process in at the end. that could result in charges against earnings. Southern's first pair of reactors at the Vogtle site near Waynesboro. Southern is using a Westinghouse reactor design already approved by the NRC. 2. which owns four utilities in the Southeast and six reactors currently. also has complicated nuclear-development efforts. "There's an egregious lack of transparency. all of which are involved in the current project at the site. director of construction and energy contracts for Berkeley Research Group in Pittsburgh. Regulators are informed of construction costs to eliminate any nasty surprises. of the industry's track record of delays and over-budget construction. were begun in the 1970s and completed in the late 1980s. Southern will have the most reactors at the Georgia site—four—of any plant in the U. a nonprofit environmental group that opposes the newest reactors at the Vogtle site. After the two Scana units are built. One lesson it taught is that there is more risk to sites with multiple reactors. Ga. Southern says the new reactors are still economical but won't divulge assumptions about demand growth that would justify construction of the 1. Why French Parents Are Superior Santorum Delivers a Republican Stunner Memory Gets Jolt in Brain Research The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die Opinion: ObamaCare's Great Awakening Most Read Articles Feed Latest Headlines Michigan Takes On Its Deadly Cities U. In addition. because of the capital costs and the low price of natural gas. which is 26 miles southeast of Augusta. Ga. The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in http://online. renewable-energy resources or cheaper." The company. utilities began construction on customized designs before they even had detailed drawings completed. 4. Southern is a bigger. They also cancelled plans to build two more units at the Vogtle nuclearstation site where the two new units will be built. but public copies are stripped of some numbers. It files reports with the Georgia Public Service Commission. have tabled development plans. Southern's Mr. saddling utilities and their customers with debt.

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