/PRNewswire/ -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today issued an Early Site Permit (ESP) for the two new units of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro, Ga. Plant Vogtle is owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia [MEAG Power] and Dalton Utilities.
The ESP is another step in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) new, streamlined licensing process designed to reduce regulatory uncertainty by completing the process in stages. Completion of the ESP process resolves many site-related safety and environmental issues, determines that the site is suitable for construction of a nuclear energy plant and successfully demonstrates the NRC's licensing process. Southern Nuclear filed an application for the ESP in August 2006.
"This is an important step for the Vogtle project, because the demand for electricity in the Southeast, and particularly in Georgia, will continue to grow," said Mike Garrett, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "The new Vogtle units will help meet our growing energy needs by providing safe, reliable and economical electricity with a zero-emission technology. The project represents a $14 billion capital investment in Georgia that will create thousands of construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs once the units are operational."
"Receiving this ESP on behalf of Plant Vogtle co-owners is a significant accomplishment for Southern Nuclear and for the nuclear industry," said Buzz Miller, executive vice president of nuclear development for Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear. "Southern Nuclear's ESP is the first one in the industry based on a specific technology, the Westinghouse AP1000. It is also the first ESP that includes a Limited Work Authorization (LWA) which allows for certain safety-related activities to begin prior to receiving a Combined License (COL) from the NRC."
In addition to the ESP, in March 2008, Southern Nuclear filed an application for a Combined License (COL) at the Vogtle site. The COL provides one license to construct and operate a nuclear power plant. The COL application is under review by the NRC. Pending appropriate approvals, Unit 3 will begin operating in 2016 and Unit 4 will become operational in 2017.
Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company, operates the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley, Ga., the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala. and the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Ga.
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