WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced today that it has approved Southern Nuclear’s combined construction and operating license (COL) for the two-reactor Plant Vogtle expansion in Georgia. Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company, will build two Westinghouse Electric Co. AP1000 reactors at the site near Augusta, Ga. Following is a statement from Marvin S. Fertel, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer.
“This is a historic day. Today’s licensing action sounds a clarion call to the world that the United States recognizes the importance of expanding nuclear energy as a key component of a low-carbon energy future that is central to job creation, diversity of electricity supply and energy security. The Nuclear Energy Institute congratulates Southern Company, the Shaw Group, Westinghouse Electric and other project participants on this exciting achievement.
“The United States is building new nuclear energy facilities under an improved licensing process that exhaustively addresses safety considerations. It also assures that the lessons learned from the industry’s licensing and construction experience are properly applied to future projects. Ultimately, this also will benefit consumers who depend on reliable, affordable electricity from those facilities.
“U.S. electricity demand has grown nearly 25 percent since the last nuclear power plant began operating in Tennessee in 1996; it has risen more than 80 percent since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last approved a construction permit for a new nuclear energy facility in 1979. A big part of the reason that the nation has been able to meet this rising demand is because electricity production from existing nuclear energy facilities has risen 40 percent over the past two decades. Nuclear energy supplies 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, even though 104 reactors constitute only 10 percent of the installed electric generating capacity. They have proven to be a tremendous investment in our nation’s economic and environmental advances.
“The thousands of reactor-years of operating experience that are the foundation for these gains have gone into the engineering, design and construction planning for the AP1000 reactors. The two new reactors will power more than 1 million homes and businesses in Georgia. Westinghouse’s new standardized design takes reactor safety to the highest level in U.S. history and is a huge stride forward for the nuclear energy industry and the nation. Thousands of jobs, direct and indirect, will be created from the largest construction project in Georgia history, and the electricity produced will help sustain economic growth in the region for 60 years.
“We congratulate all who have worked on making the next generation of America’s nuclear energy facilities a reality.”
Southern Co.'s Tom Fanning Discusses Historic Approval of License to Build, Operate Two New Reactors: