The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thursday approved the final construction permit for work to begin building two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia.
The commission voted 4 to 1 Thursday to issue the building permits. The lone dissenting vote came from the NRC’s chairperson citing safety concerns stemming from the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Anti-nuclear groups have filed a lawsuit challenging Vogtle over concerns that its design is too similar to the ones damaged at Fukushima.
At a news conference in Atlanta Thursday, the CEO of Southern Company Tom Fanning addressed those concerns.
“We are some 130 miles from the coast line we are 220 feet above sea level, we are not in a seismic sensitive area, and as I said before, the technology that we are putting into place is the newest safety technology in the nuclear industry today,” Fanning said.
The Voglte site is in Waynesboro, about 30 miles south of Augusta. According to a study by the University of West Georgia, the $14 billion project is expected to generate more than 200,000 jobs across the region. Most of them will be in construction. The new units could be operational as early as 2016.