Friday, February 10, 2012

Feds give Plant Vogtle's new nukes the green light

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 9:55 AM

  • Christina Wedge/Georgia Power
Yes, those new nuclear reactors near Augusta that you, me, and Georgia Power's other 2.3 million customers are already paying with our monthly power bills. Well, all of us except for the manufacturers who managed to lobby their way out of the additional charge. Via the AJC's Kristi Swartz:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed off Thursday on Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s request to build two 1,100-megawatt reactors at its Plant Vogtle site in Burke County.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the project. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who has supported the project throughout the process, dissented, saying he was concerned that the reactors would not meet certain safety requirements put in place since Japan's Fukushima Daiichi accident.

"Significant safety enhancements have already been recommended as a result of learning the lessons from Fukushima, and there is still more work ahead of us. Knowing this, I cannot support issuing these licenses as if Fukushima never happened," Jaczko said.

On that same note, a coalition of environmental advocates, including Georgia WAND, plans to challenge the application in federal court on the grounds that the NRC did not take the recent Fukushima disaster into account and consider modifying the new reactors' plans.

As we mentioned above, the reactors were eased along by the state and federal government. In addition to the pay-in-advance financing program state lawmakers approved (with the gentle arm-twisting of an army of Georgia Power lobbyists), the reactors enjoy a $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee. The reactors — the country's first in more than 30 years — are expected to switch on in 2016 and 2017.

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