Federal regulators are considering a plan to build the nation's first nuclear power plant in a generation.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is set to vote today on Atlanta-based Southern Co.'s request to build two new reactors at Plant Vogtle  in eastern Georgia. If approved, the $14 billion reactors could begin operating as soon as 2016 and 2017.

The NRC last approved construction of a nuclear plant in 1978, a year before a partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania raised fears of a radiation release and brought new reactor orders nearly to a halt.

The NRC approved a new reactor design for the Vogtle plant in December. Utility companies in Florida and the Carolinas also plan new reactors that use the same design.

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