Charlotte company prepares to build nation's first nuclear plants in 3 decades

Charlotte ObserverJanuary 29, 2012 

The long and winding road of America's nuclear renaissance runs down South Tryon Street on its way to the first U.S. power plants to be built in a generation.

Headquartered one block off the Square in Charlotte, N.C., Shaw's Power Group shares contracts with Westinghouse to build two additional reactors at both the Summer nuclear plant northwest of Columbia and at the Vogtle plant in eastern Georgia.

No U.S. nuclear construction permit has been granted since 1978, and the industry's history is riddled with cost overruns and plant cancellations. Demand for electricity has stagnated as the economy soured, and investors have hesitated to back nuclear projects. The reactor meltdowns in Japan last March stunned the world, prompting some nations to shut down their plants or ditch plans for new ones.

Against that backdrop, utilities, regulators, investors and power engineering competitors will have all eyes on the $9.8 billion Summer and $14 billion Vogtle projects.

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