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Indian Point Spokesman, Critic React To NRC Approval Of New Nuke Plant

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The Indian Point nuclear power plant - Buchanan, NY (file / credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Indian Point nuclear power plant – Buchanan, NY (file/credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork / AP) - Not since before the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 have federal regulators approved a license for a new nuclear plant – until now.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted Thursday to approve a licensing request for two nuclear reactors near Augusta, Georgia.

The government’s approval of this plant in Georgia could open eyes closer to home here in the New York City area.

Jim Steets, spokesman for the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, thinks people might be more willing to consider nuclear power.

“This is positive news. It’s positive news for the industry and I think the benefits of nuclear power are clear,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell.

Steets also points out that new power plants create new jobs.

However, Laura Haight at the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) isn’t so sure.

“I think the world has changed since last March when the Fukishima nuclear reactors [in Japan] began their meltdown,” she said.

Haight feels there’s not enough private funding to make this a trend. She says the only reason this plant is going forward is because of federal funding.

“Private financing is almost dead in the water for nuclear power plants. It’s too risky. It’s too expensive,” she said.

Thursday’s vote clears the way for officials to issue an operating license for the reactors, which could begin operating as soon as 2016 and 2017.

The partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania brought to a halt the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States.

How do you feel about nuclear power? Sound off in the comments section below!

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