NRC approves a new nuclear reactor designDavid Wagman | May 01, 2019
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it will certify the Korean-made Advanced Power Reactor (APR)-1400 for use in the U.S.
The certification is valid for 15 years. Korea Electric Power Corp. and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power submitted their APR-1400 design application to the NRC in December 2014. The design, as approved, is for a reactor that would produce around 1,400 MW of electricity.
The NRC said that the design features enhanced systems to safely shut down the reactor or mitigate the effects of an accident. Full certification allows a utility to reference the design when applying for a combined license to build and operate a nuclear power plant.
Currently there is one unit in operation (Shin Kori unit 3) and seven units under construction, four in the United Arab Emirates and three in South Korea. Two nuclear units are currently under construction in the U.S. at Georgia Power's Vogtle Station. Those units use Westinghouse AP 1000 technology and each will have a generating capacity of around 1,114 MW.
The APR-1400 is an evolutionary advanced light water reactor based on an earlier design known as OPR-1000. In Korea, the reactor produced 1,455 MW of gross electrical power with a thermal power capacity of 3,983 MW.
The reactor core consists of 241 fuel assemblies, 93 control element assemblies and 61 in-core instrumentation assemblies. Each fuel assembly has 236 fuel rods in a 16 x 16 array. The core is designed for an 18-month operating cycle.
The APR-1400 operates with two reactor coolant loops. In each loop, heated primary coolant leaves the reactor pressure vessel through one hot leg, passing through one steam generator and returning to the reactor vessel through two cold legs, each equipped with a reactor coolant pump.
The NRC has certified five other designs: the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, System 80+, AP600, AP1000 and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor. NRC staff is reviewing applications to certify two other designs: the U.S. Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor and the NuScale Small Modular Reactor (SMR). Staff is also reviewing an application to renew the ABWR certification.
In late April, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction said it would help NuScale Power develop and deploy its SMR. The agreement includes potential Korean financial investors who plan to make a cash equity investment in NuScale. Fluor Corp is currently the majority investor in NuScale.