NRC Approves Vogtle Reactor Construction - First New Nuclear Plant Approval in 34 Years (With new plant photos)

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NRC Approves Vogtle Reactor Construction - First New Nuclear Plant Approval in 34 Years (With new plant photos)

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the combined license for two new AP1000 reactors at Georgia's Vogtle nuclear plant Thursday afternoon -- the first time since 1978 a new nuclear plant has been licensed in the U.S.

Southern Company has made substantial progress since obtaining an early site permit in 2009, and the final COL is critical to the construction schedule. The approval was long anticipated, with the NRC issuing a final safety evaluation report for the project last August. But the final approval was slowed by a review of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design, which was delayed as regulators evaluated design ammendments to meet enhanced aircraft impact resistance requirements. The AP1000 was approved in late December.

"Vogtle units 3 and 4 will represent a new era of nuclear safety," Commissioner William D. Magwood said following the COL approval. He also noted the mandatory hearing alone took 7,000 staff hours, and that he and other comissioners felt there was no reason to stop progress on new nuclear plants while the commission is reviewing safety regulations in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan.

Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko cast the lone dissenting vote on the COL approval, saying it should include some binding commitment that changes in federal requirments arising from the NRC's post-Fukushima work would be implimented at the new units before their completion.

Southern is building the new reactors with Oglethorpe Power Corporation (holding 30 percent ownership), the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7 percent) and Dalton Utilities (1.6 percent). The project is expected to cost $13.3 billion, and Southern estimates it will create 5,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. Southern filed its application for the COL in 2008.


(click pictures to enlarge)

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  • GREAT NEWS for sure!

  • One giant step for U.S. nuclear!

  • Nobody does it better than Chicago Bridge & Iron Co.

  • Wonderful news....Sanity actually prevailed.

    Bring on Levy County/Crystal River.

  • This should help stimulate the economy.

  • Why BWR? Why not MSR?

  • Finally we take a big long awaited step!

  • 5,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs; Holy Crap!!! I want one in my backyard... make that ten!

  • Looks like a great place to work for us scaffold builders!  Where do us Detroiters sign up?  Goodluck everybody and have a safe working environment.

  • Does anyone have a contact number for jobs at the Vogtle  build

  • I agree.  Chicago Bridge & Iron's history proves it.  Go get 'em CBI !

  • M Cohn -- You can find the project's employment page, including contractor phone numbers, here:

    Best of luck,


    Nuclear Street News Team

  • WoW  It is about time.We need Nuclear POWER. Congrats, Keep it going and good luck and safety.


    Have you all conveniently forgotten Chernobyl? Is that too far in the past for your stupidly short memory?

    Well, how about the Fukushima incidents from LAST YEAR?

    Good gosh, you people are absolute MORONS. "Ten in your backyard," indeed.

    Sacrifice the health and safety of humankind and nature for the sake of employment.

    Read up on your history! Nuclear accidents are INEVITABLE. As long as humans are imperfect creatures, there will be mistakes with nuclear power.

    I suppose you don't realize the first people to die of exposure and Acute Radiation Sickness are the plant workers. The next ones to die after a nuclear disaster (or "minor incident," as you all probably think of it) are the firefighters and rescue teams. Then the innocent plants and animals and, finally, the unsuspecting citizens who die of complications related to the radiation exposure. Children--do you understand? CHILDREN develop CANCER of the thyroid, HEART defects, lung problems.

    Does this really fail to disturb any of you? NO ONE deserves to die that way. I cannot begin to comprehend the lack of foresight and human compassion you all possess.

    Your collective stupidity is STUNNING.

  • I'm not sure if you are aware of this but the type of nuclear reactor being built here is an AP1000.  It's cooling system does not rely on diesel generators like those of Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Instead it relies on natural forces like gravity and natural circulation.  They are designed to work even if nuclear operators do not take action.  Thus, they are immune to human error.

    While nuclear accidents are inevitable the United States has done a stellar job in containing them.  Look at three mile island for instance (the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history), there have zero confirmed deaths.  In fact there have been no confirmed deaths in radiation related incidents from nuclear power in the United States in over 50 years.  That's a pretty good track record.  Far better than coal, which supplies most of the electricity for the United States, which kills thousands per year and has made diseases like asthma and bronchitus as prevalent as they are today.  They are even known to release more radioactivity into the environment than coal power.