"For the first time in over three decades, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to decide to grant a license to build a nuclear reactor -- a milestone for an industry whose long-hoped-for renaissance is smaller and later than anticipated."
"The vote, set for Thursday, is on two new reactors at the Southern Company's Alvin W. Vogtle plant near Augusta, Ga. It would be the first vote on a construction license since 1978, a year before the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania.
In anticipation of approval, the company has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in digging a foundation, laying pipes for cooling water and other steps at the site, where two reactors have been operating since the late 1980s.
Southern and its partners are swimming against the tide, betting that even with the project's approximately $14 billion price tag, nuclear power will prove cheaper than using coal, natural gas or any other source over the estimated 60-year lifetime of the reactors. Few other companies are willing to take the gamble, given the current economic and political picture."