TOKYO — After 34 years, the United States is expected to resume construction of nuclear reactors by the end of the year, and Toshiba Corp. will export turbine equipment for the reactors to the U.S. early next month, a Japanese newspaper reported Saturday.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that construction will begin by year-end on the third and fourth reactors of the Alvin W. Vogtle plant in Georgia and two reactors for the Virgil C. Summer plant in South Carolina,which currently has a single reactor.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to shortly approve the construction and operation of the reactors, which have been designed by Westinghouse Electric Co., a subsidiary of Toshiba. It is currently screening applications for 26 new reactors.
Before the construction of a reactor can begin, it needs to receive a final safety assessment report from the NRC as well as NRC approval for its construction and operation. The NRC issued final safety assessment reports for the four reactors in the summer after the onset of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
The United States has 104 reactors in operation, making it the world's largest nuclear energy producer. However, after the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant meltdown in 1979, construction of new nuclear power plants was suspended.