The country's top nuclear safety regulator warned the industry against complacency and said it must resolve several long-running issues, including fire protection and a new analysis of earthquake risks.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko told power company executives Thursday that two proposed nuclear reactors in Georgia and several others are under increased scrutiny because of safety problems.
Southern Co. plans to expand Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro from two nuclear reactors to four. They will be first new nuclear power plants in decades in the United States.
Jaczko said inspectors conducted more special inspections in the past year than at any point in recent memory.
In remarks prepared for a meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations in Atlanta, he said he wants the commission to "move forward swiftly" on safety rules prompted by a disaster this year at a nuclear plant in Japan.
The commission is in the process of setting rules prompted by a serious nuclear accident earlier this year at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan. Jaczko and his fellow commissioners are also expected to soon decide whether to approve the design of Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 reactor, which could be built in Georgia and South Carolina.
The Institute for Nuclear Power Operations is an internal watchdog group set up by the nuclear industry.