Still, there's a long road ahead before the plant could start producing electricity.
Federal regulators are at least months away from deciding whether to issue construction and operation permits for two new reactors at Plant Vogtle, an existing nuclear power station about 160 miles southeast of Atlanta. The plant's majority owner is Georgia Power, a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Southern Co.
Company officials say they expect a final decision from the federal government by 2011 or 2012. If approved, the reactors would be operational starting in 2016.
A coalition of environmental groups has mounted legal challenges to the project.