Pittsburgh, March 19, 2012 — Westinghouse Electric Co. completed fabrication of all 157 fuel assemblies and related components needed to operate the first-ever AP1000 nuclear power plant, Sanmen Unit 1, in Zhejiang province, China.
Completion of fabrication is a major milestone for Westinghouse and its Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility in Columbia, South Carolina, where the fuel assemblies were completed and delivered to the Sanmen Nuclear Power Co. (also in Columbia) for later shipment to China. Sanmen Unit 1 is scheduled to begin generating electricity in 2013.
The AP1000 reactor, which received amended design certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in December 2011, was developed to further improve safety and reduce construction and operating costs. Westinghouse is pursuing production of AP1000 fuel across its global manufacturing facilities.
The "Advanced Passive" safety system is a central feature of the AP1000 design. Plant safety is achieved using basic physical processes rather than only powered safety systems.
The design uses natural cooling and gravity-driven systems to keep the reactor safe, even under the extreme conditions of a Fukushima-type event. The design also employs a more cost-efficient modular construction approach. The modules are built at remote factories and assembled together on site, reducing plant construction time. These concepts result in a simpler, more practical and safer design, which is attracting worldwide interest.
Sanmen 1 is the flagship AP1000 plant; seven more are already under construction: one more at Sanmen; two at Haiyang site in Shandong Province, China; two at Southern Nuclear's Vogtle site in Georgia; and two at the SCE&G V.C. Summer site in South Carolina. Additional AP1000 plants are anticipated over the next decade in the U.S. and around the world.