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energy & nuclear

Atoms for the next generation

US approves 1st reactor project in 34 years
Apparently, that we'll leave for our children literally thousands of years of toxic problems doesn't bother the regulators too much. Asking what we're going to do with the spent fuel isn't important. The technologists win again, and science sits back and keeps its mouth shut. Shame on them.

US nuclear regulators have approved construction of nuclear power reactors in the country for the first time in 34 years.

The 5-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 4 to 1 on Thursday to approve a plan to build 2 reactors at the Vogtle plant in the southern state of Georgia.

Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko cast the dissenting vote, citing safety concerns.

Jaczko said he cannot support issuing a license for the construction unless builders implement safety measures to fully address risks exposed by the nuclear accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The reactors, called Unit 3 and Unit 4, were designed by Westinghouse Electric, which is majority-owned by Japanese electronics maker Toshiba.

Construction could begin this year. If all goes well, the reactors are expected to start operation in 2016.

The US stopped building nuclear plants after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

President Barack Obama's administration says it will heed lessons learned from the Fukushima accident. But Obama is sticking to his policy of promoting nuclear power as a way to reduce dependence on oil.