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The Vogtle nuclear power plant. Photo: Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty Images

The only nuclear power project under construction in the U.S. will proceed after co-owners reached an 11th-hour deal Wednesday on how to handle further cost overruns.

Why it matters: For days, the future of Southern Company's delayed, way-over-budget construction of two new reactors at its Vogtle plant has been cloudy.

  • A decision to halt the now-$27 billion project would have been another major wound to the badly struggling U.S. nuclear industry.
  • The new reactors are slated to come online in 2021 and 2022.

The details: Under the arrangement described in this filing, Southern subsidiary Georgia Power, which has a 45.7% stake in the project, agreed to assume a larger share of future cost increases. Per the Securities and Exchange Commission filing:

  • They're on the hook for 55.7% of increases of up to $1.6 billion, and 65.7% of increases up to $2.1 billion.
  • And if costs balloon even more, the other owners could sell a portion of their stake to Georgia Power in exchange for Georgia Power agreeing to pay their share of those overruns.
  • Plus: "In this event, Georgia Power would have the option of cancelling the project in lieu of purchasing a portion of the ownership interest of any other Vogtle Owner."

The other owners of the project are the Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and Dalton Utilities.

The big picture: Via Utility Dive...

  • "The decision to continue construction of the Vogtle plant is a win for Southern and a boon for the fragile U.S. nuclear industry."
  • "The Department of Energy warned last week that cancelation of the project would strike a blow to the teetering sector and prompt the repayment of billions in federal loans."

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

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