Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

Katie Brown (202) 224-2160      

New Nuclear Reactors in Georgia To Create 5,800 Jobs

Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, welcomed the news today that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded its mandatory hearing for Southern Company's license application to build two new reactors at their Vogtle plant in northeastern Georgia.  These new reactors will create 5,000 construction jobs as well as 800 permanent jobs. 

This hearing represents the Commission's final action on the application, and the staff is expected to issue the license in the immediate future.  It marks the first time since 1978 that the NRC has authorized construction of new nuclear reactors, and it is the very first time it has used the combined "Construction and Operating License" (COL) first authorized by Congress in 1992. 

"I am pleased today that the NRC has authorized construction of two new nuclear reactors in Georgia that will create 5,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs at a time when we most need them," Senator Inhofe said.  "This license has been over four years in the making, and, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public works, I have been personally focused on its progress.

"Today, the NRC has shown the world it is up to the task of new plant licensing.  Now, it is my expectation that the agency will examine lessons learned during their first successful use of the COL process.  I'm confident that they will find opportunities to improve its efficiency.

"While I am pleased that the Commission has finally concluded its deliberations on this application, I am disappointed once again to see that NRC Chairman Jaczko is standing alone against the consensus of his colleagues, opposing the NRC staff's conclusions despite the nearly 40,000 hours of safety and environmental review, and trying to disregard the Near-Term Task Force's recommendation to proceed with licensing and use existing NRC processes to require implementation of post-Fukushima safety improvements prior to operation.

"Nuclear energy is a vital contribution to our nation's energy security, and, as we can see with the creation of 5,800 new jobs, it greatly enhances economic growth.  I hope this in an auspicious beginning as we move forward with a new generation of nuclear energy, incorporating over fifty years of advancement in nuclear technology and safety improvements."