Tags: Nuclear | Power | reactors | NRC

NRC OKs Georgia Nuclear Reactors — First in Generation

Thursday, 09 Feb 2012 12:51 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
U.S. regulators approved plans to build the first new nuclear power plant in more than 30 years on Thursday, in spite of the panel's chairman dissenting vote because of safety concerns stemming from the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 4-1 to allow Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build and operate two new nuclear power reactors at its existing Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. The units will cost Southern and partners about $14 billion and enter service as soon as 2016 and 2017.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko cast an extraordinary dissenting vote, citing the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011, which spurred the NRC to review whether existing and new U.S. reactors could withstand natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.

"I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima never happened." Jaczko said. "I believe it requires some type of binding commitment that the Fukushima enhancements that are currently projected and currently planned to be made would be made before the operation of the facility."

The Obama administration has offered Southern and its partners $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees as an incentive.

The new plant will use by Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactors, a standardized design that the NRC approved in December and will be the foundation for several other proposed nuclear plants. Westinghouse is majority owned by Japanese multinational Toshiba Corp.

There have been no nuclear power plants in the United States since the partial meltdown of the reactor core of the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, which caused construction costs for nuclear plants to skyrocket and stopped dozens of planned plants in their tracks.

Southern's Vogtle project is the first in a queue of permits filed by U.S. utilities, such as Scana Corp., that once were predicted to usher in a "renaissance" of nuclear power. Nuclear power accounts for about 20 percent of U.S. electric generation.

Interest in building new nuclear plants rose about a decade ago, when natural gas prices were soaring and experts thought Congress would place first-ever limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

But the case for widespread U.S. nuclear plant construction has eroded due to abundant natural gas supplies, slow electricity demand in a weak U.S. economy, lack of financing and uncertainty following the Fukushima disaster.

New nuclear plants are "more questionable because there are economic factors right now which favor gas-fueled power plants and the fact that the economy is only growing slowly means that nationally the need for new generation is lower than people were expecting in 2007," said Michael Golay, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A 1,000-megawatt natural gas plant takes a few years to permit and build and costs up to $1 billion for the most efficient, combined-cycle model. A similar-sized nuclear reactor however could take five to 10 years to develop and build and cost in excess of $5 billion.

Industry experts say building interest is centered in Southeast states like Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Alabama and Florida, where land is plentiful and a population shift from northern states has boosted electricity demand.

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Pro-Russian Separatist Leader: Not Bound by Geneva Deal

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 06:25 AM

The self-declared leader of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, on Friday said that he did not c . . .

Carney: Jon Stewart Was Obama's Toughest Interview in 2012

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 06:13 AM

President Obama's toughest interview of 2012 wasn't with a nightly news anchor, a newspaper, or even one of his critics  . . .

Admiral McRaven: Suicide Among Special Forces at Record Levels

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 06:09 AM

Suicides among U.S. special operations forces, including elite Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are at record levels, a U.S. . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved