NRC member praises progress on Vogtle nuclear expansion

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Plant Vogtle’s new reactors are progressing properly under the critical oversight of resident and regional inspectors, according to a member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who toured the site Tuesday.

“The NRC as a safety regulator has a very key role in making sure this project is completed according to all regulations,” said Commissioner William Ostendorff, who has served on the panel since 2010 and voted in 2012 to license the Vogtle project.

“This is my third visit to this site in 2½ years,” he said, noting that he worked with staff to evaluate member Southern Nuclear’s application for the first combined operating license that authorized the first new U.S. nuclear power expansion in 30 years.

The plant is also a major economic driver for the region, both through construction jobs now and permanent jobs to emerge later, said U.S. Rep. John Barrow, whose 12th District includes Burke County.

Congress, he said, made new nuclear plants possible by creating the new combined operating license framework in 2005 that allows both the construction and the operation of a nuclear facility.

“Up till that time, you could get permission to construct the thing, but then you couldn’t operate it,” said Barrow, who joined Tuesday’s tour.

“They could change the rules before you got permission to operate it.”

Tim Echols, a Georgia Public Service Commission member in the tour group, said the Vogtle project represents historic firsts in a revitalized nuclear industry.

“This is a point of pride for Georgia,” Echols said. “We feel like we are leading the nation.

“We want to see this project completed as close to on time and within budget as possible.”

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Reindeargirl 03/27/13 - 02:10 pm
New Nuclear plant uneconomical and likely stuck with waste

Vogtle will cost ratepayers a whole heck of a lot of money, drive rates up, and will leaved Ga stuck with the waste for who knows how long? I understand the industrial users have been given a pass on the higher rates and those will be passed on to residential users only. . .. meanwhile, Yucca mountain will not open, the Aiken folks will not allow SRS to become a dumping ground for spent fuel, so its likely Ga residents will be paying for long term storage of some of the most deadly substances known, all built around an untried, untested new reactor design. Gee, what could go wrong??

Atomikrabbit 03/28/13 - 05:08 am
Worst choice except for all the alternatives

Since you obviously know more about the topic of atomic energy production than the four nuclear engineer commissioners who voted to approve the project (which will generate emission-free baseload power at a 90+% capacity factor for 60 years), would your alternative solution be 2300 MW of fossil fuels, windmills, woodchips, or cow dung?

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