By a 4-1 vote the agency opens the door to $14 billion in new construction
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in a 4-1 vote, with Chairman Gregory Jaczko dissenting, cleared the way for the Office of New Reactors to issue to combined construction and operating licenses to the Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC) for two 1100 MW Westinghouse AP1000 model reactors. (NRC final order)
The NRC certified the amended Westinghouse reactor design on December 30, 2011.
Jackzo said in a statement to the media following the agency action that he wanted the license issued on condition that SNC implement the agency's Fukushima safety agenda.
“I cannot support the issuing of this license as if Fukushima had not happened," he said.
Kristine Svinicki, speaking for the four commissioners who voted in favor of issuing the license, said Jackzo is mistaken if he thinks they have disregarded the Fukishima crisis. In a statement that cut through Jaczko’s dissent like a samurai sword she said,
She pointed out that the NRC staff did not recommend amending the license to take Jaczko's requirements into account.
"We found that it would not improve our systematic regulatory approach to Fukushima nor would it make any difference to the safety of operating or planned reactors."
Paradoxically, when the NRC approved the amended design for the AP1000, Chairman Jaczko said at the time that he voted for it based on the "enhanced safety margins" provided by "innovative safety and security functions."
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