WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Southern Co passed the environmental review for the two nuclear reactors it wants to build at its Vogtle nuclear station in Georgia. the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Friday.
The NRC must still vote on issuing the license.
The agency's final environmental impact statement on Southern's reactors comes as some U.S. lawmakers call for a delay in approving new U.S. nuclear power plants in response to the crisis at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power station.
NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko recently told Congress there were no plans to change the agency's schedule because of the problems in Japan.
Jaczko has said the five members of the commission would likely vote during the fourth quarter of this year on Southern's license to build the two reactors.
The NRC said its licensing decision will be based on the final environmental impact statement issued today and the final safety evaluation report that is still being compiled by agency staff.
The Energy Department has conditionally awarded an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to Southern for the two reactors, which would be built next to two existing reactors at the company's Vogtle nuclear power station.
If approved by the NRC, the two new reactors come online in 2016 and 2017.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio and Sofina Mirza-Reid)