The AP1000 is certified – Where do we go from here?

The NRC’s five Commissioners have approved a rule that certifies the amended AP1000 reactor design for use in the Unites States.

The Commissioners took this final step in the certification process after four years of review by the NRC’s technical staff. The staff carefully examined information from the reactor’s designer, Westinghouse, and asked thousands of additional questions to ensure the company appropriately resolved all the issues necessary to show the design is safe. The amended design includes changes to some reactor systems and it shows the AP1000 can keep the public safe even after the impact of a large commercial aircraft.

The new rule means the AP1000 is generally acceptable for use by companies interested in building and operating new U.S. nuclear power plants. Companies still have to show, however, that the reactor can be safely built and operated on a given piece of land in an environmentally acceptable way. The NRC’s Combined License process answers those site-specific questions.

Several companies submitted Combined License applications for the AP1000 while the design was still under review – NRC regulations allow this because certification must be complete before any decisions are reached on the licenses.

The NRC is now ready to complete the Combined License process for the first two AP1000 applications, one for the Vogtle site in Georgia and one for the Summer site in South Carolina. The Commission is now deciding if the applications and the NRC staff’s review meet the requirements of the Atomic Energy Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

If the Commission concludes all the requirements are met, the NRC will be able to issue licenses for the Vogtle and Summer projects. These decisions are expected early next year.

Scott Burnell
Public Affairs Officer

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

9 thoughts on “The AP1000 is certified – Where do we go from here?”

  1. How can a nuclear plant ever be declared environmentally safe when there is no way to make the spent fuel byproduct safe. We should reject any application to build unless the applicant finds a way to spread this byproduct on a sandwich and eat it, first. Then, if the applicant still lives in six years, approval process may begin.

  2. HI All,
    Its nice that they are going to such an effort to make sure these are up to the right standard but i dont know a lot about these reactors and i guess my question is are they going to all the existing reactors and making sure they are up to the same standard as it only takes one weak link for disaster

  3. It seems obvious that generation IV nuclear reactors should start being implemented, as we await the successful application of ITER and nuclear fusion as our energy sources of the future. This news makes me happy; I actually voted for Mcain years back because of his insistence that we needed to get off oil and start building more reactors.

  4. 4 years to decide this? this level of delegation needs to stop. We need a definite syetm based on quick decisions not a 4 year process backed by taxpayers and fueled by big business loobyists.

  5. I encourage others to take whatever action they think should be taken. It almost makes my blood boil to see how much time and effort some deluded people will put into the task of slowing down valuable infrastructure projects that can provide not only thousands of well-paying jobs during the component manufacturing and plant construction processes, but also will provide many decades worth of reliable, clean, prosperity-enabling power for a large population exceeding several million people.

  6. Are there plans to install this type of reactors in other states?
    How soon?

  7. The NRC have been engaged with the applicants for the Vogtle and Summer sites for several years, beginning in 2006 for the Vogtle site. As part of our licensing review process, we have held a number of public outreach meetings to inform and engage the local citizens about our review process, our standards, and how they can be involved. In addition, as part of our design review process, we requested public comments and we addressed those comments prior to approving the AP1000 design.

  8. Since this is a whole new project, how do residents of vogtle site in Georgia and summer Site in South carolina feel

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