ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Power has won approval from the state
Public Service Commission to build two new nuclear reactors near
Augusta, which could be the first new nuclear project to break
ground in the country in three decades.

The $14 billion expansion project at Plant Vogtle is set to begin construction in 2011 and is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

The PSC voted 4-to-1 today to certify the proposal from
Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission must also sign off.

Supporters called the proposed expansion a "green" alternative
to meet the state's growing energy needs.

Commissioner Stan Wise said -- quote - "It is clean. It is safe
and it has become the least expensive form of (power) generation in our state."

But critics questioned where the waste would be stored and how
the project would affect the Savannah River basin.

The Georgia policy director for the Southern Alliance for Clean
Energy, Rita Kilpatrick, said -- quote -- "Given the financial,
security and safety risks with nuclear power, this PSC decision
will result in a poor use of ratepayers' money."

Still, today's debate at the PSC centered on questions of
financing. Included in the plan passed today was a financing scheme that would allow Georgia Power to begin to collect some $1.6 billion in costs from ratepayers six years before the reactors go online.

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