Construction of Vogtle's new reactors draws international attention

  • Follow Metro

SHELL BLUFF, Ga. — Plant Vogtle is being watched around the world as a symbol of America’s reawakened nuclear program, according to the chairman of France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission.

Back | Next
Bernard Bigot, the chairman of the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission in France, speaks after touring the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro. He visited the site Monday.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Bernard Bigot, the chairman of the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission in France, speaks after touring the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro. He visited the site Monday.

“If something is going well here, all nations benefit,” said Bernard Bigot, who toured the Burke County site Monday with U.S. Energy Department officials. “And if something is wrong, everyone shares.”

France generates 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear sources – the highest percentage of any nation – and is second only to the U.S. in the number of commercial nuclear power reactors.

Plant Vogtle’s $14 billion expansion represents the first new commercial reactors to be built in the U.S. in three decades, so it will be watched closely by other nations, he said.

In particular, the world will be watching to see if its operator – Southern Nuclear – is able to complete the project safely, on time and within budget.

“It is a great concern, everywhere, of people investing in nuclear,” he said, adding that he is confident the Vogtle project will be a success of which the nation can be proud.

“The U.S. has been the first nation to move on with nuclear, and it has the largest fleet,” he said. “It is a time when you need to show to the public that we can move on.”

The Vogtle project received the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Com­mission’s first-ever combined operating license in February, which authorized the construction and operation of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. The units are scheduled to begin producing electricity in 2016 and 2017.

A second project, S.C. Electric & Gas Company’s V.C. Summer expansion, was authorized a few weeks later and is also under way. Like Vogtle, the Summer expansion includes two AP1000 reactors.

Bigot plans to share his observations with nuclear power officials in France.

“Nuclear has no borders,” he said. “It is very important to share knowledge, especially to take it back to our political leaders.”


• France derives more than 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.

• France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity because of its low cost of generation.

• France is active in nuclear technology and exports reactors and fuel products.

• About 17 percent of France’s electricity is from recycled nuclear fuel.

Source: World Nuclear Association

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
scorehouse 06/19/12 - 09:18 am

that france exports electricity. does georgia sell electricity to our border states?

Riverman1 06/20/12 - 04:59 am
He won't stay past Thursday.

He won't stay past Thursday. That's when the French weekend begins.

Jake 06/20/12 - 08:34 pm
Dumb comment

Well, what would you expect from someone who does not know the French?

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Sting leads to prostitution arrests
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office released little information and denied interviews "due to the sensitivity of the case," but said the emphasis was placed on prostitution at area hotels.