Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves first new plant in over 30 years Matthew Pomy at 10:37 AM ET
[JURIST] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) [official website; press release] voted Thursday to issue the first US license for a new nuclear power plant in over 30 years. In a 4-1 vote the NRC approved an application by Southern Company [corporate website] for an issuance of two Combined Construction and Operating Licenses (COL), the first such licenses ever approved for a US nuclear plant. The lone dissenting vote was cast by NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko [official profile], who cited environmental concerns similar to those surrounding the fallout from the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster [IAEA backgrounder]. Each COL authorizes a new reactor unit at the Waynesboro, GA, Vogtle Electric Generating Plant [corporate website], which began commercial operation of its two existing reactors in the late 1980s. Following the NRC vote the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) [official website] unanimously approved the costs projected by Southern subsidiary Georgia Power [corporate website; press release], whose construction costs for the new Vogtle units are monitored by the PSC via monthly filings and semiannual construction monitoring reports. No nuclear power plants have been licensed in the US [Reuters report] since the partial meltdown of the reactor core of the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. Georgia Power hopes to have Vogtle Units 3 and 4 running by 2016 and 2017 respectively.
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