NRC Board indefinitely postpones hearing over Georgia nuclear reactors

By Dorothy Davis

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) has indefinitely postponed the Sept. 17 prehearing conference to discuss the right of environmental groups to reopen safety concerns over new nuclear reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia. 

In February Southern Company secured $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees from the Department of Energy for the construction of two new units at the Vogtle site, which upon completion would be the first new U.S. reactors constructed and commissioned since 1979.

Although the ASLB previously ended the contested portion of the proceeding on the Vogtle COL application, petitioners are attempting to raise a new objection related to perceived safety problems with the Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 reactor design planned for the for the site.

The ASLB citied sudden withdrawal of legal counsel for the three organizations challenging the application as the reason behind the cancellation and has granted the environmental groups through Sept. 22 to find new legal representation before deciding whether to reschedule the session.

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