NRC Approves Two New Georgia Plants: Is Nuclear Back?

For the first time in 34 years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the construction of new nuclear plants.

Southern Co. and subsidiary Georgia Power have received approval to move forward with a pair of projects to be sited near Augusta, Georgia. Nuclear proponents are happy to see a new chapter opened for nuclear generation. At the same time, with the memory of the Fukushima disaster still fresh, the approval comes at a time when nuclear critics are particularly unhappy.

Both plants are to be built at an existing nuclear site, known as Vogtle, that already has two reactors. The new pair will produce up to 2,200 megawatts when and if they go online in 2016 to 2017. The plants are a new design from Westinghouse known as the AP1000.

The design is a modernization of the standard pressurized-water reactors that have been the norm in the U.S., and is claimed to come with passive safety features that automatically cool down the reactor following an accident, without need for human intervention. More importantly, Westinghouse says the AP1000 doesn’t need electricity to cool everything down, a feature that was glaringly lacking at Fukushima.

The NRC voted 4-1 to approve the project. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was the sole dissenter, which was irksome to some in the industry who felt that, despite the advances made in plant design, Jaczko could never be satisfied.

via NRC Approves Two New Georgia Plants: Is Nuclear Back? : Greentech Media.

Categories: Electricity, Energy