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In 2009, the USA generated 3950 billion kWh net of electricity, 45% of it from coal-fired plant, 24% from gas and 7% from hydro. Annual electricity demand is projected to increase to 5,000 billion kWh in 2030, though in the short term it is depressed and is not expected to recover to the 2007 level until about 2015. Annual per capita electricity consumption is currently around 12,400 kWh. Total capacity is 1025 GWe, less than one tenth of which is nuclear.
The USA has 104 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. In 2009 these plants achieved a capacity factor of 91.1%, generating 799 billion kWh and accounting for 20% of total electricity generated. In 2010, 807 billion kWh was generated by nuclear plant.
In February 2012, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the construction license of the two proposed reactors at the Vogtle plant. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko cast the lone dissenting vote on plans to build and operate the two new nuclear power reactors, citing safety concerns stemming from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, and saying “I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima never happened”.
One week after Southern received the license to begin major construction on the two new reactors, a dozen environmental and anti-nuclear groups are suing to stop the Plant Vogtle expansion project, saying “public safety and environmental problems since Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor accident have not been taken into account”.