Southern Alliance for Clean Energy contends the commission overlooked key issues - such as the impact of huge volumes of water the new reactors would use - in determining there are no significant environmental impacts that would prevent an early site permit from being issues.
“Most people would suspect that spending more than $14 billion on a controversial energy project that will lock up the Savannah River’s resources for decades and decades into the future would have some major environmental impacts,” said Sara Barczak, the organization's program director.
The Early Site Permit is the first step by Georgia utilities to obtain federal approval for new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Southern Company’s nuclear division, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, filed for the permit with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August 2006.
A final decision from the NRC on the early site permit is not expected until 2009. The final Environmental Impact Statement just released by the NRC represents just one phase of the review process.