NRC review of AP1000 nuclear reactor design could affect license review

Efforts by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to confirm its review of Westinghouse’s amended AP1000 reactor design uncovered additional technical issues. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said Westinghouse must resolve the issues before the NRC can consider finalizing design certification.

"The agency will determine what impact this effort may have on the schedule for the AP1000 design amendment and related license application reviews after the staff examines the company’s response on these matters," Jaczko said in a statement.

When the NRC approved a proposed certification rule earlier in 2011, the rule language noted the need for what additional calculations to confirm the staff’s technical analysis. That work led to more questions regarding the AP1000’s shield building, as well as the peak accident pressures expected within containment. Jaczko said the NRC made it clear to Westinghouse that it must prove that it has "appropriately and completely" documented the adequacy of the design. NRC staff will examine Westinghouse’s quality assurance and corrective actions programs as part of an inspection the week of May 23. The company is expected to submit additional information early in June.

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