Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New nuclear reactors in U.S. finally approved

L.A. Times: First new U.S. nuclear reactors in decades approved
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves construction and licensing of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia, the first such approval in the U.S. since 1978.
By Ralph Vartabedian and Ian Duncan
February 9, 2012, 10:13 p.m.
Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington—A consortium of utilities in the South won government approval Thursday to construct two new atomic energy reactors at an estimated cost of $14 billion, the strongest signal yet that the three-decade hiatus of nuclear plant construction is finally ending.

Several new projects will test whether new technology and streamlined government licensing can help the industry avoid the economic and safety disasters that have tainted its past, nuclear experts say, though critics condemned the action by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The commission's 4-1 approval of the construction and operating license to expand the capacity of a Georgia nuclear power plant came 11 months after the meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi facility left a wide swath of radioactive contamination.
I've been expecting this news since spring of 2005. Back then, I could see the beginnings of the price run-up in oil that eventually led to the record $147/barrel in July 2008. Based on who was in power, a couple of Texas oil men (Bush and Cheney), I knew they would push for more conventional energy sources. They'd already started working on expanding oil and gas production, which is already bearing fruit, however poisoned (who do you think approved the regulatory framework that made fracking and Deepwater Horizon possible), but they'd soon start working on building more coal-fired plants (this hasn't worked out too well so far, as a lot of the proposed plants have been disapproved) and eventually nuclear plants. That's what I told my students in Howell that semester. With the approval of these two plants, my prediction is looking better all the time. It only took seven years and another Administration to make it happen.

Above based on a link and excerpt originally posted as part of Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday on Daily Kos.

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