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Vogtle, Georgia's two-unit nuclear power plant. Photo: Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty Images

Owners of a troubled, over-budget nuclear power project in Georgia will decide today whether to cancel the ongoing construction of two new reactors.

Why it matters: The expansion of Southern Company's Vogtle site is the only nuclear power project underway in the country. Its demise would be a major blow to the industry that has seen hopes for a U.S. renaissance fade.

Where it stands: Southern subsidiary Georgia Power, which has the largest stake in what has ballooned into a $27 billion project, has signaled that it supports pressing ahead.

  • But the two other major stakeholders — Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Oglethorpe Power Corp. — must also sign off on moving forward.

The intrigue: The project is supported by federal loan guarantees agreed to under the Obama administration, and the Trump administration supports completion of the reactors.

  • "It’s important that the U.S. maintain its leadership in nuclear technology, nuclear expertise," a senior DOE official told reporters on a call Sunday evening.
  • On Friday, the Energy Department sent letters to the owners warning that if it's canceled, the department is "prepared to move swiftly to fully enforce its rights" to repayment. Thus far, $5.6 billion of the $8.3 billion loan guarantee has been disbursed.

Go deeper: The Associated Press has more on the DOE letters to the project owners here.

Go deeper

56 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.