Jaczko Reaffirms New Reactor Licensing Will Move Forward

During a congressional hearing Wednesday, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said new reactor licensing will continue as scheduled, despite the ongoing nuclear accident in Japan and a subsequent safety review in the U.S.

“As early as late summer the commission may conduct the first mandatory hearings on new reactor licenses since the 1970s,” Bloomberg quoted Jaczko as saying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The NRC lists pending combined build/operate license applications for 28 new reactors at 18 new and existing plants, including plans for South Texas Project units 3 and 4 that were recently abandoned by primary investor NRG Energy. The commission could give final approval to four reactors at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina and the Vogtle plant in Georgia this year.

Jaczko’s affirmation of the licensing timetable comes amid an ongoing NRC safety review at nuclear reactors following the devastating station blackout at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. It also follows a petition by environmental groups last month to suspend the licensing process until after that review is complete.

While regulators remain committed to ongoing reactor construction, the cheap price of natural gas also proves a challenge to the industry. Reuters recently quoted an S & P analyst as saying that even with federal loan guarantees, he felt natural gas prices would need to exceed $6 per BTU for capital-intensive new reactors to be economically attractive.

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  • Anonymous

    well this is good news now we wont have to worry about people stoping construcution like they did blackfox nuclear pwer plant in oklahoma ; now its time to let technology and coporations go forward in the usa the greatest civilization since king solomuns time