Southern Co. may need several more months to determine the date of its imperiled Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia, CEO Thomas Fanning said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, according to Power Magazine.
Southern’s Georgia Power subsidiary has been working under an interim agreement with Westinghouse Electric since the nuclear power company declared bankruptcy.
Southern had previously said it would reach a decision whether or not to proceed with construction on Vogtle by June, but that decision has now been pushed off until August or late summer, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Southern Co. has many balls in the air when it comes to completing the construction of two nuclear reactors at its Vogtle nuclear facility in Georgia.
Fanning is pushing Westinghouse’s parent company, Toshiba, to make good on $3.7 billion in guarantees. But Toshiba itself is now reported to be preparing to file for bankruptcy court protection.
Southern had also objected to Westinghouse’s move to use its intellectual property to guarantee an $800 million debtor-in-possession loan, fearing that possible entanglements over the design of the nuclear facility could put the completion of the project at risk. Southern has held that it has the rights to the nuclear plant’s design so that should not be an impediment to completing the project.
Meanwhile the bankruptcy court in New York has given approval for the DIP financing to go forward.
Separately, in a contract dispute, Westinghouse has locked out union workers from a nuclear component factory in New Hampshire, a move that could further complicate progress on setting new construction timelines for the beleaguered nuclear project.
Westinghouse’s bankruptcy has also put the V.C. Summer nuclear project in South Carolina, being built by SCANA and its partners, at risk.
SCANA (NYSE:SCG) and Southern (NYSE:SO) are deciding now whether to continue building the reactors or abandon construction in the wake of Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in March. Westinghouse, the designer and principal contractor for the two projects, was pushed into the bankruptcy court by
Westinghouse’s bankruptcy was prompted by more than $6.1 billion in losses from cost overruns and delays at the Summer and Vogtle projects.