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Southern Co.'s (SO) application for the first new U.S. nuclear reactor in decades received the blessing of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday, clearing a regulatory hurdle in the company's quest to lead a new wave of reactor construction.
As expected, a majority of the five NRC members said Thursday they favored the proposal to build two new reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia.
The NRC's staff still have to complete a final administrative review before the license is issued, but that is expected to happen soon.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was the lone dissenting vote against issuing the license. He favored a requirement that "safety enhancements" as a result of meltdowns last year at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant be made at the Vogtle plant.
"I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima had never happened," Jaczko said at an NRC meeting Thursday.
-By Ryan Tracy, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9245; email@example.com