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Taxpayers on the hook for Georgia nuclear plant construction as DOE approves federal loan guarantees

Georgia WAND calls for transparency in wake of Vogtle loan guarantee announcement

Media Contact:
Courtney Hanson
Director of Organizing and Communication
courtney@georgiawand.org
308-631-8543

ATLANTA-  U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the approval of a $6.5 billion federal loan guarantee to Southern Company and partner Oglethorpe Power to finance two nuclear reactors already under construction at the Vogtle Electric Generating near Waynesboro, Georgia.

An additional $1.8 billion in loan guarantee funds could also be dispersed to MEAG Power for the Vogtle project, but the terms have not yet been finalized.

Moniz is set to travel to Waynesboro tomorrow to finalize the guarantee. The announcement came during a speech he delivered on White House's "all the above" energy strategy today at the National Press Club.

“This loan guarantee is a sweetheart deal for the utilities building Plant Vogtle.  Essentially, they’re gambling with every US taxpayer’s dollars to unnecessarily expand one plant here in Georgia,” Becky Rafter, Georgia WAND Executive Director said.

“In Georgia, we have a double burden. Not only are we already paying extra each month on our power bills to finance Vogtle construction (through ‘nuclear construction cost recovery’), but now we are forced to back the federal loan guarantees with our taxes."

This announcement come less than a week after many residents living near plant Vogtle lost power for several days due to inclement weather.

“For the communities living in the shadow of Vogtle, the burden of two additional reactors funded by this loan guarantee goes beyond their wallets,” Rafter said. “They experience the immediate negative health impacts from the plants’ emissions. Creating new opportunities to work with the DOE is critical to ensuring we’re all being responsive to this community’s concerns.”

The DOE first announced the $8.3 billion loan guarantee for Plant Vogtle co-owners Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) in 2010. Discussions were extended several times due to changing requirements and terms of the loans due to the fallout from the 2011 bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee and other issues.

Georgia WAND and our colleagues have worked diligently against the  nuclear loan guarantee program and for transparency over the terms of the Vogtle loan guarantee. Now, we’re calling for the terms of the loan guarantee to be made public.

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Georgia Women's Action for New Directions is a women-led organization that seeks to direct women's voices into a powerful movement for social change. We work to reduce militarism and violence and redirect excessive military spending toward unmet human and environmental needs.

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