Sep 24, 2018

The only nuclear power project in the U.S. ponders its fate

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.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 42 mins ago - Health

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy