NRC approves design change for Ga. nuclear plant

ATLANTA -- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given a Georgia utility permission to change the design of a nuclear power plant under construction, resolving a conflict over the installation of metal bars.

Southern Co. spokesman Mark Williams said Tuesday that regulators will allow the company to pour sturdier concrete over the bars, bringing the design into compliance with federal rules. Williams said he didn't know how much the change would cost.

Federal inspectors earlier faulted the company for allowing the installation of those bars in what will become the plant's foundation in ways different than in design documents. Officials said the error had "very low safety significance."

The plant under construction near Augusta is the first to be built from scratch in a generation. It's estimated to cost around $14 billion.