The US Department of Energy (DOE) approved Georgia Power's new agreement with Toshiba to complete the $3.2bn payments for the $19bn Vogtle nuclear expansion project in Burke County, near Waynesboro, Georgia, US.

As per the deal, Toshiba agreed to complete remaining payment of $3.2bn in parent guarantees to Georgia Power and the co-owners including Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, for the Vogtle expansion project by 15 December 2017.

Of the total parent guarantees, Georgia Power will receive about $1.4bn.

Georgia Power chairman, president and CEO Paul Bowers earlier said: "We remain committed to making the right decisions for our state's energy future and continue to believe that completing both Vogtle units represents the best economic choice for customers and preserves the benefits of carbon-free, baseload generation for Georgia electric customers."

Toshibais the parent company of Westinghouse Electric, which was the Vogtle expansion project contractor.

Westinghouse has stepped out of the project after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2017, following which Southern Nuclear took over the control of the Vogtle 3 and 4 site.

The Southern Company subsidiary Southern Nuclear currently operates the existing two units at the Vogtle nuclear plant.

Georgia Power said: “Today, after including anticipated customer benefits from federal production tax credits, interest savings from loan guarantees from the DOE and the fuel savings of nuclear energy, the projected peak rate impact to Georgia Power retail customers is approximately 10%, with 5% related to the project already in rates – well below original projections of approximately 12%.

Said to be the first new nuclear units to be built in the US in the last three decades, the Vogtle expansion project involves construction of 3 and 4 Westinghouse AP1000 (Advanced Passive) nuclear units.

Upon completion, the Vogtle project is expected to produce electricity required to power one million Georgia homes and businesses.

The Vogtle units 3 and 4, each with about 1,117MW capacity, are scheduled to be commissioned in 2021 and 2022, respectively.


Image: The Vogtle nuclear power plant located in Georgia, US. Photo: courtesy of Charles C Watson Jr/Wikipedia.