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Westinghouse is under contract to construct two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia.
Business

US utility to decide fate of Westinghouse reactors in August

Southern CEO weighs national security interests against costs, delays

HIROYUKI KOTAKE, Nikkei Washington bureau chief | Japan

WASHINGTON -- U.S. utility Southern will decide next month whether to continue to construct a pair of reactors ordered from Westinghouse Electric, the now-bankrupt nuclear unit of Japan's Toshiba.

Southern CEO Tom Fanning

Completing the reactors "is really central to [America's] national security interests," Southern CEO Tom Fanning told The Nikkei in an exclusive interview. He cited competition from Russia and China's global nuclear power activities.

On the other hand, "Westinghouse's bankruptcy is causing the price of the project to go up and the schedule to get delayed," Fanning acknowledged.

"We still have to decide whether we're going to go forward or not," added Fanning. "Our intention is to make that call sometime in August."

A Southern subsidiary in 2008 enlisted Westinghouse to build the reactors at at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. But the project was thrown into disarray when Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March. Toshiba later said it will pay Southern $3.68 billion in guarantees for construction.

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