The Nuclear Energy Plan
Meeting Demand Without Emissions
The most cost-effective, reliable and environmentally responsible fuel source today, for baseload generation of electricity, is nuclear. Nuclear energy fits in Southern Company's mix of smart energy sources. It's a proven technology that produces no greenhouse gas emissions and can relieve cost uncertainty caused by coal and natural gas prices.
By 2030, electrical demand is projected to increase 27 percent in the Southeast. Additionally, current and pending legislation and environmental standards are impacting electricity generation fueled by coal. We're planning to use nuclear units to extend reliable and affordable supplies of electricity in the Southeast.
Southern Nuclear already operates three nuclear facilities: Hatch, Farley and Vogtle, each with multiple generating units. Plant Vogtle was constructed with the option to expand. With operations expected in 2017 and 2018, Vogtle Units 3 and 4 will be the first new nuclear units built in the U.S. in the last three decades.
Licensing Process Today
Today's design certification process enables plant designers to secure advance NRC approval of standardized plant designs. The early site permit process also enables companies to obtain approval from the NRC for a nuclear power plant site before deciding to build a plant. And today's process provides for issuance of a combined construction permit and operating license before construction begins. Granting a combined construction permit and operating license signifies resolution of all safety issues associated with the plant. More about the Part 52 New Licensing Process.
While past nuclear energy facility designs contained common technologies, there were many other differences in overall plant design. Today, manufacturers use standard designs which are being pre-approved by the NRC.
The new units at Plant Vogtle will use the light-water Westinghouse AP1000 technology. More than 40 new nuclear plants are under construction in 12 countries around the world - almost all using light-water reactor technology.
The AP1000 has received design certification from the NRC. The design is safe, efficient and simpler than current models.