New Nuke Plant Forecast for 2012

Monday, August 15, 2011 @ 04:08 PM gHale

Early next year looks like Southern Co. will get the green light to build the country’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, according to a new timeline from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Company officials wanted to garner permission before the end of the year to build two Westinghouse Electric Co. AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. But Southern Co. Chief Executive Thomas Fanning said the approval could stretch into early 2012.

Oyster Creek Security Plan OK’d
GA Nuclear Plant Closer to Construction
Safety ‘Degraded’ at OH Nuke Plant
‘Security Deficiencies’ at MD Nuke Plant

The $14 billion effort is the flagship project in a new wave of U.S. nuclear power plants.

President Barack Obama’s administration has awarded the project $8 billion in federal loan guarantees as part of an effort to expand the country’s reliance on nuclear power. NRC staffers issued two reports last week saying the AP1000 reactor and plans to build it in Georgia met federal safety requirements.

Two big steps remain before Southern Co. and its partners could start construction. First, NRC commissioners must vote to formally approve the AP1000 reactor slated for use at Plant Vogtle and other sites. Besides Georgia, Westinghouse Electric has contracts to build AP1000 reactors in South Carolina and Florida. Four AP1000 reactors are under construction in China.

Excavation is now taking place for Vogtle 3 and 4 going up in Georgia next to the two existing reactors.

Excavation is now taking place for Vogtle 3 and 4 going up in Georgia next to the two existing reactors.

Assuming the agency’s commissioners vote to approve the reactor, it could take until January to publish the rules for the AP1000 in the Federal Register, said R.W. Borchardt, the NRC’s executive director for operations. After publishing the rules for 30 days, the reactor design would then gain a formal approval.

After approving the new reactor, the NRC’s commissioners could vote on whether to give Southern Co. permission to start building the new plant in Georgia. Fanning has told analysts that a delay into early next year should not affect the overall schedule to bring the new reactors online by 2016 and 2017.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.