Westinghouse Welcomes Major Step Towards AP1000 Licensing Approval in the United Kingdom
PITTSBURGH, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Westinghouse today welcomed the announcement from the UK nuclear safety regulator that the “Regulatory Issue” connected with the design of the company’s AP1000Ã‚® nuclear plant had been lifted. This move clears a significant obstacle on the pathway towards Design Acceptance Confirmation by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), that is currently assessing the AP1000 reactor as part of the UK Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process. In addition, this announcement from the ONR is consistent with the progress made in the United States, where Westinghouse recently submitted Revision 19 of the AP1000 design documentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The company believes that this revision addresses all open NRC items, and thus should allow the NRC to confirm final approval for the AP1000 design later this year.
Westinghouse Managing Director for the UK, Middle East and Egypt, Mike Tynan, said: “We recognize that there remains a considerable amount of work to be done on this and other technical aspects of the AP1000 design, but the lifting of the formal ‘Regulatory Issue’ today means that the safety inspectors recognize the fact we have made great progress in this area — demonstrating to them that the building structure is robust enough to withstand any credible accident and remain safe.”
He added: “Coupled with the regulators’ continued assertion that there are no other showstoppers which would prevent the AP1000 from receiving Design Acceptance Confirmation in due course, this news is an important step in providing confidence to potential customers who may wish to build this reactor that they will be able to secure the necessary construction and operating approvals.
“We are pleased that Westinghouse has today made another important step forward towards bringing safe, secure and reliable electricity generation — with minimal emission of carbon dioxide — to the UK, through the AP1000 power plant.”
Notes to Editors:
Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation (TKY:6502), is the world’s pioneering nuclear energy company and is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world. Westinghouse supplied the world’s first pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa. Today, Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the world’s operating nuclear plants.
The Westinghouse AP1000 reactor is one of two designs currently being assessed by UK regulators for potential new nuclear build in the UK. Contracts have been placed around the world for a total of 10 AP1000 plants to date — four in China and six in the United States. All four plants in China are well underway with construction, and all are on schedule, with the first plant, at Sanmen in China, due to produce electricity in 2013.
The AP1000 design has passed all the steps for compliance with European Utility Requirements. In addition, the AP1000 reactor is the only Generation III+ plant to receive design certification by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The “Regulatory Issue” raised in February 2010 in the UK is in connection with the AP1000 design related to the proposed “steel-concrete-steel” construction design for certain key structures within the Nuclear Island. The Nuclear Directorate felt there was a lack of evidence to demonstrate that they would be sufficiently robust to protect the reactor’s safety systems under normal conditions, and also from severe weather and other external hazards. Accordingly the regulators required Westinghouse to provide appropriate evidence to demonstrate that the strength and durability of these structures was adequately justified.
In the UK, Westinghouse operates the Springfields site, near Preston, which has provided nuclear fuel fabrication services for over 60 years. On 1 April 2010, new operating arrangements for the site came into effect involving a 150 year lease of the site by Westinghouse from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
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SOURCE Westinghouse Electric Company