A new nuclear power plant has just been approved for the first time since 1978.

After the conclusion of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC)    hearing on Southern Nuclear Operating Company’s (SNC) application for two Combined Licenses (COL) at the Vogtle site in Georgia, the NRC ruled that the staff’s review  was adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.  This has cleared the way for the NRC’s Office of New Reactors to issue the COLs.

SNC is owned by Southern Company (SO).

According to a statement issued by the NRC, ‘œThe NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) independently reviewed aspects of the application that concern safety, as well as a draft of the staff’s Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER). The ACRS provided the results of its review to the Commission in a report dated Jan. 24, 2011. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Vogtle on March 24, 2011. The NRC completed and issued the FSER on Aug. 9, 2011’œ.

The reactor in the plant will be Westinghouse AP 1000. Westinghouse, once an American corporate icon like  General Electric  (GE) sold its nuclear division. The division is now owned by  Toshiba  of Japan.

Amended AP1000 design was certified by the NRC on Dec. 30, 2011. The AP1000 is a 1,100 megawatt electric pressurized-water reactor that includes passive safety features that would cool down the reactor after an accident without the need for electricity or human intervention.

The plants will be built at the Vogtle site, adjacent to Southern Company’s existing reactors approximately 26 miles southeast of  Augusta, Ga….Read more at Forbes