Future Of Georgia Nuclear Plant Tied To Troubled Toshiba

John Bazemore / Associated Press file

Earlier this summer, the Japanese company Toshiba promised to pay more than $6 billion to Georgia utilities. One of those utilities said on Thursday it’s not sure the company will survive, let alone make the payments.

And without the payments, a nuclear power expansion project will be on even shakier ground than it is already.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Oglethorpe Power Corporation said it has doubts “about Toshiba’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Toshiba is supposed to make its first payment to Oglethorpe and the other owners of Plant Vogtle in October. Without the payment, Georgia regulator Stan Wise said the project might not be completed.

“If Toshiba’s not going to make that payment, then clearly that affects everyone’s decision adversely,” said Wise, the chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “That’s a milestone that we can’t go forward without.”

Toshiba released its earnings results on Thursday, with a loss of more than $8 billion.

In its quarterly earnings report, Oglethorpe said it’s put $3.7 billion into the expansion at Vogtle. It had budgeted a total of $5 billion for its pieces of the project, but now it expects to spend $6.5 to $7.3 billion.

Oglethorpe owns a 30 percent stake in Plant Vogtle. The main owner is Georgia Power.

Last week, Georgia Power’s parent, Southern Company, released its earnings report, including projections for spending on Plant Vogtle. Including financing costs, it says it now expects to spend between $9 and $10.5 billion to finish the plant.

The two new nuclear reactors were supposed to be up and running by now. Georgia Power expects they’ll be complete by 2023.

Georgia is now the only state in the nation with a nuclear power project under construction. South Carolina canceled its nuclear expansion, which was also being built by Westinghouse, in July.

CORRECTION: The figure in the caption has been corrected to $6 billion.