Augusta Vogtle talks continue

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Testimony continued today in a weeklong series of presentations in which the Atomic Safety & Licensing Board is hearing evidence related to challenges to Southern Nuclear Operating Company’s request for permits to add two new reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The board agreed to hear three challenges raised by a consortium of environmental groups over issues including the impact of the reactor’s cooling system on the Savannah River and its aquatic life; the impact of dredging the river to accommodate barges needed to deliver reactor components; and the failure of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ask Southern Nuclear to explore dry cooling as an alternative to water-cooled systems.

Although environmental groups have argued these concerns warrant more studies before a permit can be issued for the project, Southern Nuclear and NRC staff members have said the existing evaluations are both complete and adequate.

An NRC spokesman said this afternoon that the hearings were expected to continue on Wednesday and could possibly last into Thursday morning. The hearings are being held at the Doubletree Hotel & Convention Center in Augusta.

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