Approval of Reactor Design Clears Path for New Plants

Westinghouse

Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear power plant will use a design that relies on forces like gravity and natural heat convection.

By 

WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commissionunanimously approved a radical new reactor design on Thursday, clearing away a major obstacle for two utilities to begin construction on projects in South Carolina and Georgia.

The decision, a milestone in the much-delayed revival of plant construction sought by the nuclear industry, involves theWestinghouse AP1000, a 1,154-megawatt reactor with a so-called advanced passive design. It relies more heavily on forces like gravity and natural heat convection and less on pumps, valves and operator actions than other models do, in theory diminishing the probability of an accident.

 

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