The new reactors are a westinghouse design called the

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begin until the final license was issued. The new reactors are a Westinghouse design called the AP 1000. Together they are expected to cost $14 billion and provide 2200 megawatts of power, according to a spokesman for Southern Co. That's enough to power 1 million homes. The plants are being built with the help of a conditional $8.3 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan guarantee is part of DOE's broader loan program that has been criticized for backing companies like Solyndra, the bankrupt maker of solar panels. The Southern spokesman said the loan guarantee, combined with other regulatory measures, enable the project to receive cheaper financing that will ultimately save ratepayers $1 billion. The first reactor is expected to come online in 2016 and the second one in 2017, according to Southern Co. The AP 1000 is the newest NRC-approved nuclear reactor. This would be the first one built in the United States, although four are already under construction in China, said Scott Shaw, a Westinghouse spokesman. Critics have said the containment walls of the AP 1000 aren't strong enough to withstand a terrorist attack, but Shaw says they were redesigned after September 11, 2001 and have held up during simulations. He also said the design's passive cooling system makes it much safer than older designs. The AP 1000 uses gravity and condensation -- not electricity -- to cool the fuel rods. It was the loss of electric power that led to the meltdown of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactors following the tsunami in 2011.
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  • Spring '12
  • Na
  • Three Mile Island accident, nuclear reactors, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, new nuclear reactors

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