The outcome of the Southern Co.'s plan to build two new nuclear reactors at its Vogtle power station near Augusta, Ga., could determine the future of nuclear power in the U.S., Forbes reported. Joseph "Buzz" Miller, executive VP for nuclear development for Southern, was quoted as saying: "Success here is the linchpin for the nuclear industry in this country." The project has an $8.3-billion federal loan guarantee, and reactor vendors and engineering and construction firms have said things will be different compared with the nuclear projects of the 1970s, which were known for their managerial debacles.
Westinghouse CEO Aris Candris was quoted as saying: "We went through a long, lean period in nuclear. That gave us plenty of time to lock arms as an industry and decide next time we were going to do it right." Problems have already arisen: the NRC has not signed off on the new Westinghouse design for the AP1000 reactor and the Shaw Group, contractor for the project, hired subcontractors who did not do the necessary paperwork for staff correctly. Nonetheless, Miller was quoted as saying: "We're going to have bumps, but it's not impossible. It can be done."
Forbes, Sept. 27.