US OKs First Nuclear Reactors in 30 Years

Georgia plant gets approval to build two
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2012 12:08 PM CST
In this April 28, 2010 file photo, excavation for the foundation of the new reactors is under way in Waynesboro, Ga. The US gave its formal approval to the plan today.   (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)
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(Newser) – It's a milestone for the nuclear energy industry: The feds today gave their blessing to a Georgia utility company to build two new reactors, the first such approval in 30 years, reports CNN. Southern Co. and its partners will build the reactors in Waynesboro, Ga., about 170 miles east of Atlanta, at a plant that already has two operating reactors. That will make the Vogtle plant the biggest nuclear complex in the US when they're up and running by 2017, notes the New York Times.

The last time the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a license to build a new plant was in 1978, the year before Three Mile Island. Other plants have gone online since then, but their licenses were issued before 1978. The reactors, expected to cost $14 billion, have a design called the AP 1000 by Westinghouse, which is said to be far more sturdy and resistant to earthquakes than older models currently operating. They would provide enough power for 1 million homes. (Read more nuclear energy stories.)

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