Despite one dissenting member citing the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted last week to approve the beginning of a “renaissance” in nuclear energy, in the words of one senator.
The permits, requested by S.C. Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of SCANA and Santee Cooper are for the construction of two new reactors in Jenkinsville, S.C.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted that before this February a new reactor hadn’t been built in the U.S. in more than 30 years. Now, in the past seven weeks, four reactors have been licensed.
“This is a long-overdue and much welcomed change in policy,” Graham said Friday. “We worked for years to see these reactors approved and I’m very pleased this long-sought goal has finally been achieved. The construction of two new reactors will be an over $10 billion dollar project and represents one of the largest investments in South Carolina history.”
“The renaissance in American nuclear energy has begun,” the senator said.
The lone dissent in the 4-1 vote came from Chairman Gregory Jaczko. “I continue to believe that we should require that all Fukushima-related safety enhancements are implemented before these new reactors begin operating,” he said.