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U.S. Energy Secretary Says Nuclear Power Plays Important Role In National Energy Policy and Job Creation

ATLANTA, Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu told workers at Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle today that nuclear power will continue to be an important part of the energy mix in the United States and around the world. 

In a speech before several hundred plant employees, Dr. Chu outlined a national energy policy that values the role nuclear plays in confronting energy security and jobs creation in a struggling global economy.  Vogtle is the site of America's next new nuclear units, the first to be built in a generation.

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a blueprint for an American economy that is built to last and develops every available source of American energy," said Secretary Chu. "Nuclear power is an important part of that blueprint. The work being done in Georgia and at research organizations like Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping restore American leadership in the global race for the nuclear energy jobs of tomorrow."

Dr. Chu was hosted by Southern Company CEO Thomas A. Fanning, Georgia Power CEO W. Paul Bowers and Shaw Group Chairman, President and CEO J.M. Bernhard Jr.  

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week issued the Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) for Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first such license for a U.S. nuclear plant.

"Southern Company has consistently promoted an energy policy that is grounded on the principle of energy security and argues for taking advantage of all of our nation's energy resources - nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency," said Fanning. "No single technology will solve all of our challenges, but it is clear nuclear energy is a big part of the solution."

"Not only will the addition of units 3 and 4 provide our customers with clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity, but this project is putting people to work," said Bowers. "The Vogtle investment is expected to create 25,000 direct and indirect jobs, including 4,000 to 5,000 jobs on site during peak construction, and 800 permanent jobs once the units are in operation."

The company expects to deliver to Georgia Power customers more than $1 billion in benefits from the Department of Energy loan guarantees, production tax credits and recovering financing costs during construction.   

Georgia Power expects Unit 3 to begin operating in 2016 and Unit 4 in 2017.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company, will operate the two new 1,100-megawatt Westinghouse AP1000® units for Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the new units, with a certified cost of $6.1 billion.

With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company was named the World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility by Fortune magazine in 2011, and is consistently listed among the top U.S. electric service providers in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements regarding the completion of Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, estimated construction and other expenditures related to Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, job creation, receipt and impact of U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees, production tax credits, and recovery of financing costs.  Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: regulatory approvals and actions related to Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, including Georgia Public Service Commission and NRC approvals and potential U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of future rate cases and regulations; changes in business conditions; the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries; ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effect on Southern Company's business resulting from terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorist incidents, including cyber intrusion; the ability of counterparties to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts, including Southern Company's credit ratings; and the impacts of any potential U.S. credit rating downgrade or other sovereign financial issues, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, impacts on currency exchange rates, counterparty performance, and the economy in general, as well as potential impacts on the availability or benefits of proposed U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees.  Southern Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information. 

SOURCE Southern Company

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