NRC approves Combined Operating License for Vogtle Reactors 3 and 4

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved by a 4-1 vote a Combined Operating License for Southern Company to build and operate units 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle. These are the first licenses issued in the United States since 1978, the year before the Three Mile Island accident.

The reactor design to be used at Vogtle 3 and 4, the Westinghouse AP1000 utilizes a gravity-fed passive cooling system that will protect the reactor without operator intervention for 72 hours. The AP1000 also incorporates post-9/11 regulations requiring that new reactors be able to withstand an aircraft hit.


  1. Charlie says:

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today praised the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s vote to issue a Combined Construction and Operating License to Southern Company, clearing the way for construction to begin on the nation’s first two new nuclear units in 30 years. The new nuclear units are being built at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle, near Waynesboro, Ga.

    The new Vogtle units will provide clean, safe and affordable electricity for more than 500,000 homes and businesses across Georgia. In addition, it will create 5,000 on-site jobs, including 3,500 craft labor jobs during the peak of construction and 800 permanent jobs.

    “This is an historic day for our state and for our nation. I am thrilled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to allow construction at Plant Vogtle to begin because it will create clean, safe and affordable energy for Georgia’s families and small business, and it will create thousands of jobs in our state,”said Isakson. “Energy security for our country is one of my top goals for 2012, and the development of nuclear energy at home is the key to achieving energy independence.”

    “I commend and congratulate Southern Company and Georgia Power on the approval of the necessary permits for the new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, and that full construction will begin,” said Chambliss.“An energy independent America is a safe America, and nuclear energy is a vital source of reliable, secure domestic energy. Not only is this great news for our country, but I am grateful Georgia will have the 5,000 on site jobs and 800 permanent jobs created by this project.”

  2. Charlie says:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the construction of two 1,100 megawatt nuclear energy reactors in Burke County, Georgia. The announcement came after almost seven years of negotiations between Southern Company and its utility Georgia Power, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    “I am proud to see the state of Georgia leading the way to the future of our country’s energy supply,” stated Westmoreland. “If we truly want to become energy independent, we must adopt an all-of-the-above energy plan – and that includes nuclear energy. It is the only viable clean energy option we have right now. In fact, nuclear energy provides 20 percent of our nation’s energy needs. Unfortunately, liberals in Washington have worked to stop the development of new nuclear energy technology and the construction of new nuclear energy reactors. That has placed us sorely behind other countries in the development of nuclear energy. For example, France gets more than 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy and is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity – generating almost $4 billion a year in revenue. We need to grow our nuclear energy capabilities in the U.S. if we ever expect to keep up with future energy demands.”

    Currently, Southern Company runs four nuclear reactors in Georgia – two at Plant Vogtle and two at Plant Hatch. These four reactors provide more than 20 percent of Georgia’s electricity needs. The two new reactors, dubbed Unit 3 and Unit 4, are expected to provide electricity to more than 500,000 homes in the state of Georgia. These two new reactors will be added at Plant Vogtle in Burke County.

    “Not only will these two new reactors help to stabilize energy prices in Georgia in the future, they will also bring much needed jobs to our great state,” stated Westmoreland. “Southern Company anticipates the construction of these two new units will result in the creation of 5,000 jobs directly, and up to 25,000 directly and indirectly. Georgia has suffered disproportionately through this economic crisis, and our unemployment rate remains above the national average, hovering at around 10 percent. We need to see more projects like this approved so we can get Georgians back to work and reduce our dependency on foreign oil.”

    In addition to Southern Company, the two new reactors will also be partially owned by Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Association of Georgia, and the City of Dalton. The first reactor is expected to be up and running by 2016 and the second by 2017. For more information on the two new reactors, you can visit Southern Company’s website at

  3. Charlie says:

    And from the “Good Corporate Citizen” department:

    Statement from Georgia Chamber on Plant Vogtle Expansion Approval

    “While Georgia and the Southeast have witnessed significant population and economic growth over the past two decades, that cannot continue without access to affordable and reliable sources of energy. The decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve the expansion of Plant Vogtle is one that will make a positive impact on our state’s ability to attract economic investment and maintain a high quality of life for decades to come. Georgia is fortunate to have energy partners such as Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG and Dalton Utilities who were willing to make a significant investment that will result in both direct and indirect job creation while expanding the state’s energy supply in a clean, safe and dependable manner.”

    Chris Clark
    Georgia Chamber President and CEO

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Of course the Georgia Chamber of Course is happy about the new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Georgia Power used 70 lobbyists and spent at least hundreds of thousands of dollars to have the General Assembly charge today’s electric users for power that won’t be generated until years from now. Pre-charging customers was the cue for large manufacturer’s to deploy their lobbyists to have the General Assembly exempt large manufacturer’s from paying for the reactors like everyone else.

      Not to worry though, legislators that enacted the poor policy and exempted manufacturers did so based on the merits of the legislation. The $100 dinners and other expensive gifts they received from Georgia Power and Chamber of Commerce lobbyists had nothing to do with it.

      • saltycracker says:

        How can we eliminate the nuke lobbyists along with the coal & gas lobbyists & the solar & hydro lobbyists & the PC greenie lobbyists or the eco-terrorists ?

        Maybe have a plan that makes sense, environmental, economical and resource balanced ?

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