The NRC's decision to license Vogtle is a plus for investors
Fitch Ratings, which determines the relative merits of various investment offerings, said Feb 10 is believes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's vote to approve combined operating and construction licenses for Southern's Vogtle units 3 & 4, located in Georgia, is a significant milestone for the nuclear industry.
It also said the decision will have limited impact on credit. In 2007 when Southern applied for the licenses, Standard & Poors downgraded the utility's stock based on the risk of cost over runs and litigation that might delay completion of the project.
Fitch cited the fact that the construction of two new 1100 Mw Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors is a significant, long term capital investment in baseload capacity. It pointed out that a substantial share of the costs of the reactors has been funded through debt and that the $14 billion project will rely an $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.
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