WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced today that it has certified the design of Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 reactor. The design certification confirms the AP1000 reactor’s ability to operate safely. It caps years of rigorous regulatory analysis that most recently focused on design enhancements to address aircraft impacts. The design certification is independent of a specific site or an application to construct or operate a plant, although it can be referenced in applications to the NRC for combined construction and operating licenses. A design certification is valid for 15 years from the date of issuance and can be renewed for an additional 10 to 15 years. Following is a statement from Tony Pietrangelo, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.
“NRC safety certification of the AP1000 design brings the U.S. nuclear energy industry an important step closer to the construction and operation of advanced-design reactors that can strengthen America’s energy security while producing large amounts of affordable electricity to help drive economic growth. With this approval, we fully expect that what’s known as ‘safety related construction’ can soon move ahead on four new AP1000 reactors in Georgia and South Carolina. These projects will add 4,600 megawatts of generating capacity to the Southeast electrical grid.
“On behalf of the nuclear energy industry, NEI congratulates Westinghouse and its employees on this exciting achievement. The AP1000 design incorporates innovative design and engineering features for customers in the global market.
“The industry also acknowledges the work done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its methodical review of Westinghouse’s design certification application. Its analysis demonstrates that the regulatory process for design certifications is comprehensive. It also confirms that the reactor’s design meets stringent safety requirements that will ensure public health and safety and make the AP1000 design a technology our nation can depend on for decades to come.”