Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approves First New Reactors in 33 Years
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Nuclear power plant construction at Vogtle (photo: Southern Nuclear)
For the first time since the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the building of new reactors.
The NRC granted licenses to Southern Company to construct two new reactors at Plant Vogtle, south of Augusta using a design created by Westinghouse. The applications were approved despite opposition from NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who provided the only “no” vote because the company would not agree to a binding commitment to make design changes prompted by last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan.
The new reactors will take several years to build and not come online until 2016 and 2017, respectively. However it is worth noting that the two existing Plant Vogtle reactors took 16 years to build and came in $8 billion over budget.
Up next, the NRC will decide on an application from South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., which is seeking approval for two reactors at an existing plant in Jenkinsville, northwest of Columbia.
Between 1999 and 2009, the nuclear power industry spent an estimated $645 million lobbying Congress.
To Learn More:
Plant Vogtle Nuclear Expansion Approved 4-1 (by Kristi E. Swartz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Federal Regulators Approve Two Nuclear Reactors in Georgia (by Matthew Wald, New York Times)
Obama Budget Boosts Loan Guarantees for Nuclear Power Industry (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Energy Dept. Set to Announce $18 Billion in Nuclear Reactor Loan Guarantees (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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