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Industry News

Southern Poised to Expand Investments in New Nuclear Reactors

LCG, March 7, 2006--Southern Company (Southern) and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have executed a memorandum of intent to jointly pursue the construction of two new nuclear reactors at TVA's Bellefonte plant site near Scottsboro, Alabama.

The proposed Bellefonte plant is one of the two sites being developed with NuStart Energy Development, LLC, a consortium formed to support the development of new nuclear reactors. The current plan is to submit a joint application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a combined construction and operating license (COL) to construct two, 1,100-MW reactors. The estimated cost of $150 million for initial licensing and design work for the new plant would be shared by NuStart and the Department of Energy (DOE). The total cost of each reactor is estimated to be approximately $2 billion.

The Bellefonte plant would incorporate Westinghouse Electric Company's AP1000 design, which is the same design selected by Southern for new reactors at its existing Plant Vogtle, which is located in neighboring Georgia. The AP1000 reactor incorporates passive safety features that rely upon natural forces. The NRC approved the Design Certification for the AP1000 standard nuclear plant design on December 30, 2005. Since receiving NRC approval, the AP1000 has pulled in front of competing reactor vendors and has been selected by Duke Power, Southern Company, Progress Carolinas, SCANA and Santee Cooper as the basis for additional COL applications to construct new nuclear reactors.

According to TVA, the memorandum of intent represents the first time that TVA has considered partnering with another utility to construct a major electric generating facility. Discussions are also on-going between TVA and its distributors with respect to sharing in the ownership of any new nuclear reactor built at Bellefonte.

The memorandum of intent is consistent with Southern's partnering strategies recently employed elsewhere, such as the joint development with Orlando Utilities Commission of a new, advanced integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facility at Stanton Energy Center in Florida that will receive $235 million of DOE funding.

NuStart participants include Duke, Exelon, Entergy, Southern Company, Constellation, Progress Energy, TVA, Florida Power & Light, EDF International, and the two reactor vendors, General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse Electric. Many of these participants are pursuing the development of new nuclear reactors in the Southeast, with the combined development plans totaling more than 15,000 MW of new nuclear generation starting operations in the 2015-2017 timeframe.

NuStart also plans to prepare and submit an application incorporating the GE Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station (owned by Entergy Nuclear) in Port Gibson, Mississippi.
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