AP1000 nuclear reactor design deemed safe by the NRC staff

The technical staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the design of Westinghouse Co.'s AP1000 nuclear reactor is safe in its Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER) issued August 9.

The report comes after Westinghouse submitted design changes in Revision 18 of the AP1000 Design Control Document and a confirmatory Revision 19 that resolved all remaining confirmatory items and technical issues. The amended design now moves into the final rulemaking stage for granting of design certification.

"We're in the home stretch to receive final approval of the amended AP1000 design," said Aris Candris, president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Co.  "It's been a long and highly transparent process that has included much public participation, as well as additional scrutiny of the design by the NRC staff and others.  We're happy that the NRC technical staff has approved the amended design and confident that the NRC Commissioners will do the same so construction of AP1000 units can begin here in the U.S."

Until the reactor has full approval from the commission, it can not be used in U.S. nuclear power plants. It has already been shipped to nuclear plants in China and has been picked for use in power plants in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

This is the second time through the design certification process for the AP1000 design. The NRC officially granted design certification to the reactor in 2006, but the design has been modified to meet new and additional NRC requirements, including those that require it to withstand the impact of an airplane crash on the shield building.

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