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.”