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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

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2 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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Ripple CEO: SEC lawsuit is "bad for crypto" in the U.S.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators, it would put the country at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Between the lines: The SEC in December sued Ripple, and Garlinghouse personally, for allegedly selling over $1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple's response is that its cryptocurrency, called XRP, didn't require registration because it's an asset rather than a security.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO: "It will be terrible" if COVID-19 vaccine prices limit access

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told "Axios on HBO" that it "will be terrible for society" if the price of coronavirus vaccines ever prohibits some people from taking them.

Why it matters: Widespread uptake of the vaccine — which might require annual booster shots — will reduce the risk of the virus continuing to spread and mutate, but it's unclear who will pay for future shots or how much they'll cost.