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Posted: Friday, July 13th 2007 at 12:55pm

PSC says Georgia Power can pursue plans for new nuclear reactor

By The Associated Press

State utility regulators say Georgia Power can pursue plans to build the state's first new nuclear reactors in years, but only after the company considers less costly alternatives.

The development is included in a long-term electric energy plan adopted unanimously Thursday by the state Public Service Commission.

The go-ahead for nuclear planning, which caps months of debate, is part of a settlement among the utility, its biggest customers, the PSC staff, the Gov.'s Office of Consumer Affairs and others.

The plan calls Georgia Power's nuclear ambitions "reasonable," to the dismay of nuclear opponents. A handful of them picked outside the PSC meeting.

In addition to allowing Georgia Power to go ahead with planning two 1,200-megawatt reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, the plan includes new energy-efficiency measures.

The deal also requires the utility to let other companies and energy sources _ most likely coal _ compete with the proposed nuclear sources for Georgia Power's business.

Georgia Power had wanted permission to proceed not only without state-mandated competitive bidding but without telling the PSC what the new reactors would cost.

The current reactors at Plant Vogtle were initially estimated at less than $1 billion and ended up close to $9 billion, part of a wave of overruns that all but killed the nuclear industry in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

Georgia Power has said it may have cost numbers in November.

Associated Categories: State News

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