The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just reported:
The first newly approved nuclear reactors in 33 years will be built in Georgia.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed off Thursday on Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s request to build two 1,100-megawatt reactors at its Plant Vogtle site in Burke County.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the project.
The lone dissenting vote, and the reasons why, are worth noting. According to the Journal-Constitution:
Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who has supported the project throughout the process, dissented, saying he was concerned that the reactors would not meet certain safety requirements put in place since Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi accident.
“Significant safety enhancements have already been recommended as a result of learning the lessons from Fukushima, and there is still more work ahead of us. Knowing this, I cannot support issuing these licenses as if Fukushima never happened,” Jaczko said.
Opponents of the Vogtle expansion are threatening legal action:
Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi accident also has raised new concerns about nuclear safety. Nine environmental and consumer groups are threatening to file a federal lawsuit forcing the utility to explain how the reactors’ cooling systems as well as the fuel storage pools will be upgraded to protect against earthquakes, flooding and prolonged loss of electric power to the site.