Southern Company announces agreement with Duke Power
Thursday, March 16, 2006, ATLANTA – Southern Company today announced an agreement with Duke Power to jointly evaluate the potential construction of a new nuclear plant at a site in Cherokee County, S.C., which is located in the Cherokee Falls community near Gaffney, S.C. Southern Company will work with Duke Power to develop an application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) at the Cherokee County site. Duke Power is a business unit of Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.
“This agreement is another step Southern Company is taking to explore economical and reliable generating options and to preserve the nuclear power option for meeting future energy needs,” said Barnie Beasley, president and CEO of Southern Nuclear, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company. Southern Nuclear operates Southern Company’s nuclear assets, including the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala., which is owned by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power; and the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Ga., and the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley, Ga., both of which are jointly owned by Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.
“This joint project between Southern Company and Duke Power is a good fit,” Beasley said. “Duke Power’s business model is compatible with Southern Company’s, and Duke Power is well respected in the nuclear industry for its nuclear expertise and strong operating experience. The joint project maximizes benefits for both companies.”
Duke Power will be the developer and licensed operator of any plant built at the Cherokee County site. Southern Company will be co-owner of the facility. A COL application will be prepared for the site specifying two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. The COL application is expected to be submitted to the NRC in late 2007 or early 2008. Submitting the COL application to the NRC does not commit either company to build new nuclear units. The companies will decide whether to proceed with construction at a later date.
“Southern Company is pursuing a number of activities to explore new nuclear units,” said Beasley. “This is an exciting time in the nuclear industry, a time when a proven technology is re-emerging as an attractive generating source.
“As energy needs grow in the Southeast, Southern Company intends to be on the forefront of exploring nuclear energy as an option for meeting rising electricity demand. Nuclear power has proven to be safe, reliable and cost-effective, with relatively low environmental impact.”
Southern Company and Georgia Power recently announced the companies will pursue the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design for potential new units at Plant Vogtle, located near Waynesboro, Ga. Southern Company also is working with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to explore the economic viability of partnering on potential new nuclear generation at TVA’s Bellefonte site in north Alabama. Southern Company is a founding partner of NuStart, a consortium of utilities that has been awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Energy for the development of a COL for a new nuclear plant.
With 4.2 million customers and more than 40,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. Southern Company has been ranked the nation’s top energy utility in the American Customer Satisfaction Index six years in a row. Southern Company has more than 500,000 shareholders, making its common stock one of the most widely held in the United States. Visit the Southern Company Web site at www.southerncompany.com.
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