Southern Co., Scana Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. are the companies most likely to begin building new reactors when they get U.S. permission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said.
The regulator will start making decisions on applications to build U.S. reactor in 18 months, Jaczko said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Of the 13 applications the commission is reviewing, the three companies are “actually doing” preparation work at proposed sites, he said.
Two years ago, more applicants “may have been talking about construction immediately after licensing, now there appears to be more of a wait and see,” Jaczko said. The hesitancy appears to stem from a decline in energy demand from the recession and a drop in the price of natural gas, a power plant fuel that competes with nuclear reactors, he said.
Southern, based in Atlanta, has proposed adding two units at its Vogtle site in Georgia. Scana has proposed two more reactors at a site in South Carolina. NRG and Toshiba Corp. have proposed new reactors at a site in Texas.
Southern rose 4 cents to $38.12 at 4:30 p.m. in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange. NRG fell 4 cents to $19.15, and Scana fell 4 cents to $41.18.