NEWPORT (WWJ/AP) – After a seven-year process, federal regulators have approved DTE Energy’s proposal for a new nuclear power plant in Monroe County — but whether it gets built remains to be seen.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the project Thursday, although the utility says it has no immediate plan to build an additional unit at the Fermi plant, located next to Lake Erie in Frenchtown Township.

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DTE Energy President Steven Kurmas said the approval allows the utility to diversify its sources of power. Fermi 2 has been operating since 1988, while Fermi 1 has been turned off since 1972.

Fermi 3, the first of its kind currently proposed in the Midwest, would contain a 1,600 megawatt reactor. In comparison, Fermi 2 is 1,100-megawatts.

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Not everyone is pleased. A critic, Jessie Collins, tells the Monroe News that another nuclear plant is a “foolish move.” Opponents say regulators haven’t done enough to assess environmental impacts. A court challenge is possible.

DTE provides electricity to 2.1 million customers in southeastern Michigan.

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