US regulators approve new SC nuke reactors

COLUMBIA, SC (AP/WCSC) - Federal regulators have approved plans to build two new nuclear reactors to generate electricity in South Carolina.

During a brief meeting in Washington on Friday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted to allow South Carolina Electric & Gas to build two 1,100-megawatt reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Columbia.

The project is only the second to receive federal approval in a generation. Last month, the NRC voted to issue a permit to Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build and operate two new reactors at its Plant Vogtle site south of Augusta, Ga., the first such approval since 1978.

U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement following the the approval:

"This is a historic announcement for South Carolina and the country and a great milestone for our nation's energy security.  Nuclear energy is clean, safe, reliable, and produced here at home.  It must continue to be a piece of an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  These facilities, along with Southern Company's Vogtle facilities licensed by the NRC last month, will be the first nuclear plants built in the United States in decades.

"For South Carolina, this announcement represents thousands of jobs and a multi-billion dollar investment.  South Carolina continues to lead the nation in developing nuclear technology and infrastructure.  I congratulate SCANA and Santee Cooper on this license and for pushing our nation forward to solve our energy challenges."

The South Carolina reactors would be jointly owned and operated with state-owned utility Santee Cooper. The first is expected to be on line by 2016; the second in 2019.

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