US projects delayed

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has told Dominion and Luminant in separate letters that their license applications to build new nuclear power plants in Virginia and Texas will be delayed by at least 18 months after changes in the design of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (APWR).

Luminant plans to use the 1,700 MWe APWR design for units 3 and 4 at the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant in Texas. Dominion plans to use the APWR for the proposed third unit at North Anna plant in Virginia.

Under the NRC's new schedule for reviewing Luminant's application, the safety review for Comanche Peak units 3 and 4 will be completed by June 2013, instead of the earlier target of December 2011. The safety review for North Anna unit 3 is now expected to be completed in July 2013, instead of February 2011.

MHI submitted its design certification application for the US-APWR to NRC in December 2007 and it was formally accepted in March 2008. MHI, though, has since made structural changes to the US-APWR design which required performing a new seismic analysis. The NRC is currently reviewing the new seismic re-analysis technical reports submitted by MHI.

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