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The Associated Press March 8, 2011, 1:29PM ET

NRC head: Decision on reactors possible by summer

The chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says a final decision on whether to approve several new nuclear reactor designs could come as early as this summer.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said in prepared remarks Tuesday that federal regulators may make final decisions in the coming months on reactor designs including the Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's ABWR and ESBWR.

The Atlanta-based Southern Co. and its partners have proposed building two AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga. The NRC cannot make a final decision on whether to approve that project until the reactor it would use has been certified as safe.

Regulators have not been given permission to break ground on a new nuclear power plant in a generation.

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