Georgia May Seek White House Help to Complete Reactors

A Georgia utility regulator may seek help from the White House to get two nuclear reactors — whose future has been thrown into question following the bankruptcy of contractor Westinghouse — completed.

Tim Echols, vice-chairman of the state Public Service Commission, said he’s asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry for federal assistance in extending or increasing a tax credit for the reactors being built for Southern Co. at Plant Vogtle.

“They wouldn’t be rescuing Georgia ratepayers, they’d be rescuing nuclear,” Echols told reporters during a meeting in Atlanta on Thursday. “Then the rest of the country could take advantage of what Georgia ratepayers have taken on.” 

Federal lawmakers have pushed to get an extension for a nuclear tax credit. Southern expects Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse unit to back out of a contract to complete the two half-finished reactors which are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. An interim agreement between the two runs out on May 12 with Southern evaluating whether to take over as lead contractor.

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