Gallery: First New Nuclear Reactors in the U.S. in 30 Years Get the Gre...


The Southern Company just got a thumbs up from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to move forward on construction of the nation’s first new nuclear reactors in 30 years. The dueling reactors will be built at Plant Vogtle outside of Atlanta, Georgia and will round their set of reactors from two up to four. The company obtained their Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) yesterday and expect the first new reactor to be on-line in 2016.

This development comes at a time when nuclear power has been anything but championed. In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, nations like Germany and Italy have vowed to reduce all dependency on nuclear reactors and many in Japan are asking for the same move. In addition to being scared out of our wits that a nuclear power plant near us was going to become unstable, we’ve found real foundations for those fears in research by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that many U.S. nuclear plants aren’t up to code to withstand a disaster like what occurred in Fukushima.

So as these two new 1,100-megawatt Vogtle reactors are raised we are right to be wary of their safety and hope that they are being built with the utmost of care. Though nuclear energy is not a renewable resource — fuel rods become unusable and must be safely stored when they are spent — it is a low-emissions resource that helps to reduce our dependency on dirty fossil fuels and cuts our carbon output, as well. Built safely it could be part of a winning strategy to beat climate change and after this year’s fiasco in Japan, we all now know the dangers it holds.



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  1. fcfcfc February 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    To Number 58:

    This is great news!! It is wonderful to know that we now no what disasters are going to happen when and where and to what extent. No more randomness or unexpected outcomes. This is truly wonderful!! Insurance companies can now plan based on the certitude of known outcomes. This will change the whole cost basis for insurance and risk assessment. Murphy’s law has finally been put out of business by the Nuke industry.
    This is really wonderful news…

  2. gradyz58 February 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Also @Deborah my plant is in a non-regulated industry, and therefore receives no government subsidies. The plant makes money for the simple reason that it produces electricity cheaper than any other source.

  3. Gradyz58 February 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    As an employee at a nuclear power plant, I disagree with the safety concerns. First this comment “we’ve found real foundations for those fears in research by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that many U.S. nuclear plants aren’t up to code to withstand a disaster like what occurred in Fukushima” is correct but not a concern, plants are designed based on their geological position. Therefore the plants in America are not subject to the same disasters. Also US regulation, the NRC, is stricter than regulation is overseas. There was a similar magnitude event that hit the same location in Japan years before that would have required an American plant to make major safety changes that would have more than likely prevented the accident.

  4. deborah February 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Nuclear power is not cost effective, without government subsidies the full price would not be tolerated. As for the storage for spent rods, the costs for “safe” are horrendous, and should not be accepted. The whole nuke power industry is from bomb aftermath -a guilt offset. Money should go towards real, safe,earthwise, life sane renewables, i mean wow what might that possibility look like? Why don’t we have the courage the means, will or? to pursue that which is righteous? We know better but seem trapped by old systems based on prior ignorance. What madness rules our planet and why? ..see the doc
    “Into Eternity” and get angry, get active and get the nukes out of the hands of dinosaurs.

  5. caeman February 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This is a win for Americans. This plant is one step closer to using less coal. This plant also benefits from the lessons of all previous reactors and will be safest yet built.

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