STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; Georgia Woman’s Action for New Directions
BACKGROUND: Southern Company’s Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generation Plant is located on a 3,100-acre site along the Savannah River, 25 miles south of Augusta, Georgia. Its two nuclear reactors entered commercial service in the late 1980s and together produce over 2,200 megawatts of electricity.
In August 2006, Southern filed an Early Site Permit (ESP) application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to construct two new nuclear reactors, Units 3 and 4, at Plant Vogtle. Units 3 and 4 would be Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactors, each capable of producing 1,154 megawatts of electricity.
Southern submitted its application for a combined license to the NRC on March 31, 2008. In March 2009, the Georgia Public Service Commission certified Units 3 and 4. In April 200,9 the state’s governor signed Georgia Senate Bill 31, which allows Georgia Power to recoup its $1.7 billion of financing costs during construction rather than waiting until the units are placed into service in 2016 and 2017. This is known as “Construction Work in Process” or CWIP.
NRC issued the ESP in August 2009, and anticipates a decision on the combined license in the summer of 2011. In June 2010, Southern and the U.S. Department of Energy conditionally agreed to terms on an $8.33 billion federal loan guarantee for Plant Vogtle. With the potential to begin operations in 2016 and 2017, Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 are probably the closest of the new reactor applicants to completion.
SOURCES: NRC (http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/vogtle.html);
POWER Magazine (http://www.powermag.com/nuclear/Plant-Vogtle-Leads-the-Next-Nuclear-Generation_2247.html;
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://www.ajc.com/opinion/pro-con-can-georgia-614592.html);
Last Updated: November 8, 2010