Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short

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Associated Press

Posted on July 26, 2014 at 7:01 AM

Updated Saturday, Jul 26 at 9:01 AM

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (AP) —

The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money.

So far, it's not working.

Quality and cost problems have cropped up again, raising questions about whether nuclear power will ever be able to compete with other electricity sources.

The first two reactors being built in 18 years, Southern Co.'s Vogtle (VOH'-gohl) plant in Georgia and SCANA Corp.'s VC Summer plant in South Carolina, are being assembled in large modules. Large chunks of those modules are built off-site to improve quality and avoid cost overruns.

However, a factory in Louisiana struggled to produce the parts on schedule. Now that factory is being phased out and new manufacturers are being brought in.

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