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GOOD NEWS MONDAY: AP1000 MAY WIN APPROVAL BY NEXT YEAR

In a week when comprehensive energy legislation with meaningful nuclear provisions craters, the next round of loan guarantees look shaky and the completion of Areva’s flagship Flammanville plant is delayed, there isn’t too much in the way of good news.

One glimmer of hope, however. According to Scientific American, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may be laboring toward approval of the Westinghouse AP1000 by September 2011. The NRC has been fiddling around since 2005 with a huge concrete-and-steel shield that is supposed to protect the reactor from airplane attacks.

Apparently the Department of Energy test in the 1990s showing that an F-4 traveling at 500 miles an hour would disintegrate if it hit a containment wall has not been sufficient. Westinghouse originally had the shield at ground level. Then after concerns about terrorist hijacked airplane crashes arose, it voluntarily lifted the shield to a more elevated position. After considering the new design for two years, however, the NRC decided it was not earthquake rigorous and sent Westinghouse back to the drawing boards.

Westinghouse has not yet submitted a new design, but Scientific American reporter Robynne Boyd ventures a guess that its design approval may come by next year. The date is significant because it marks the time China is expected to start its second round of AP1000 construction at Sanmen. The first two reactors are well underway and expected to be completed in 2013. Toshiba, which now owns Westinghouse, and the Shaw Group, of Baton Rouge, are participating in the projects. After units 3 and 4, however, China plans to build the next two units without foreign help.

To the swift goes the race.

Read more at Scientific American

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10 Responses to “GOOD NEWS MONDAY: AP1000 MAY WIN APPROVAL BY NEXT YEAR”

  1. Alfonso Says:

    Like so much of federal government employment, a job at the NRC is something of a sinecure. A working retirement, as it were.

    More than that, federal employment has come to be seen as a way of obstructing the private sector in as many ways as possible. It is as if the federal government sees the private sector as a competitor, rather than the heart and soul of the nation.

    It is cruel and unusual to expect NRC employees to perform constructive and helpful work which might actually help get the US economy out of a huge jam.

  2. Alfonso Says:

    Like so much of federal government employment, a job at the NRC is something of a sinecure. A working retirement, as it were.

    More than that, federal employment has come to be seen as a way of obstructing the private sector in as many ways as possible. It is as if the federal government sees the private sector as a competitor, rather than the heart and soul of the nation.

    It is cruel and unusual to expect NRC employees to perform constructive and helpful work which might actually help get the US economy out of a huge jam.

  3. Alfonso Says:

    Like so much of federal government employment, a job at the NRC is something of a sinecure. A working retirement, as it were.

    More than that, federal employment has come to be seen as a way of obstructing the private sector in as many ways as possible. It is as if the federal government sees the private sector as a competitor, rather than the heart and soul of the nation.

    It is cruel and unusual to expect NRC employees to perform constructive and helpful work which might actually help get the US economy out of a huge jam.

  4. ShouldKnowBetter Says:

    It’s not surprising whoever wrote this left their name off — the non sequitors and misconceptions are almost too numerous to count.

    Anyone bother to check the NRC Web site for the AP1000 schedule?

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/new-licensing-files/new-rx-licensing-app-legend.pdf

    Hmmmm, it seems the AGENCY is estimating the schedule, not the SciAm writer (who apparently had to be reminded the NRC is an independent agency, not part of DOE).

    And the AP1000 shield building (at least that appears to be what the NT writer means) is purely a Westinghouse product. I imagine the DOE impact test might have provided some data for Westinghouse, but the test has no bearing on the shield building issue. According to reporting on the issue by actual journalists (such as the NY Times’ Matt Wald http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/science/earth/16nuke.html ), the shield building is meant to protect the reactor containment from all sorts of external events, not just aircraft impact.

    And the NT writer somehow missed the SciAm piece pointing out Westinghouse submitted a revised shield building IN MAY, and that’s why the NRC review is moving along.

    Why does China’s schedule have anything to do with U.S. safety standards, anyway? Anyone care to bet on whether China’s first-of-a-kind construction experience will help the U.S. projects in the end?

    @Alfonso — I tend to think of the U.S. public as the nation’s heart and soul, and who’s helped keep them safe during the past 35 years of U.S. nuclear power use? I say it’s the same factor that’s helped the industry focus on how safe operation equals efficient operation, Yes, it’s the NRC.

  5. ShouldKnowBetter Says:

    It’s not surprising whoever wrote this left their name off — the non sequitors and misconceptions are almost too numerous to count.

    Anyone bother to check the NRC Web site for the AP1000 schedule?

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/new-licensing-files/new-rx-licensing-app-legend.pdf

    Hmmmm, it seems the AGENCY is estimating the schedule, not the SciAm writer (who apparently had to be reminded the NRC is an independent agency, not part of DOE).

    And the AP1000 shield building (at least that appears to be what the NT writer means) is purely a Westinghouse product. I imagine the DOE impact test might have provided some data for Westinghouse, but the test has no bearing on the shield building issue. According to reporting on the issue by actual journalists (such as the NY Times’ Matt Wald http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/science/earth/16nuke.html ), the shield building is meant to protect the reactor containment from all sorts of external events, not just aircraft impact.

    And the NT writer somehow missed the SciAm piece pointing out Westinghouse submitted a revised shield building IN MAY, and that’s why the NRC review is moving along.

    Why does China’s schedule have anything to do with U.S. safety standards, anyway? Anyone care to bet on whether China’s first-of-a-kind construction experience will help the U.S. projects in the end?

    @Alfonso — I tend to think of the U.S. public as the nation’s heart and soul, and who’s helped keep them safe during the past 35 years of U.S. nuclear power use? I say it’s the same factor that’s helped the industry focus on how safe operation equals efficient operation, Yes, it’s the NRC.

  6. ShouldKnowBetter Says:

    It’s not surprising whoever wrote this left their name off — the non sequitors and misconceptions are almost too numerous to count.

    Anyone bother to check the NRC Web site for the AP1000 schedule?

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/new-licensing-files/new-rx-licensing-app-legend.pdf

    Hmmmm, it seems the AGENCY is estimating the schedule, not the SciAm writer (who apparently had to be reminded the NRC is an independent agency, not part of DOE).

    And the AP1000 shield building (at least that appears to be what the NT writer means) is purely a Westinghouse product. I imagine the DOE impact test might have provided some data for Westinghouse, but the test has no bearing on the shield building issue. According to reporting on the issue by actual journalists (such as the NY Times’ Matt Wald http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/science/earth/16nuke.html ), the shield building is meant to protect the reactor containment from all sorts of external events, not just aircraft impact.

    And the NT writer somehow missed the SciAm piece pointing out Westinghouse submitted a revised shield building IN MAY, and that’s why the NRC review is moving along.

    Why does China’s schedule have anything to do with U.S. safety standards, anyway? Anyone care to bet on whether China’s first-of-a-kind construction experience will help the U.S. projects in the end?

    @Alfonso — I tend to think of the U.S. public as the nation’s heart and soul, and who’s helped keep them safe during the past 35 years of U.S. nuclear power use? I say it’s the same factor that’s helped the industry focus on how safe operation equals efficient operation, Yes, it’s the NRC.

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