So soon after the Japan Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disasters proves the US Nuclear industry in the US is not only alive and well but extremely resilient.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Dec. 26, 2011
China's Sanmen 1 AP1000 Nuclear Plant currently under construction.
The Westinghouse AP1000 is the main basis of China's move to Generation III nuclear power generation technology and involves a major technology transfer agreement. It is a 1250 MWe gross reactor with two coolant loops. The first four AP1000 reactors are being built at Sanmen and Haiyang, for CNNC and CPI respectively. At least eight more at four sites are firmly planned after them, and about 30 more are proposed to follow.
The reactors are built from modules fabricated adjacent to each site. The timeline is 50 months from first concrete to fuel loading, and then six months to grid connection for the first four units, with this expected to reduce significantly for the following units. The cost of the first four is expected to be less than $2000/kW, with this reducing to $1600 for further units.
Sanmen 1 and 2 are scheduled to start generating power in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and Haiyang 1 and 2 are expected to follow in 2014 and 2015.
Our world is growing and the energy supply must grow along with it or we will be quite literally left in the dark. By 2020, there will be an additional two billion people on the planet placing an exorbitant demand on the electric grid. Fossil fuels do not stand a chance at satisfying this demand due to lack of supply and without further harming the environment. Renewables including solar and wind are both periodic and cost prohibitive at the moment and without 100% baseload backup, are in some cases just as unreliable as not having built them in the first place.
The Nuclear Option
Nuclear power is a plentiful and clean source of power generation and Westinghouse has now been granted NRC Design Certification with the AP1000 pressurized water reactor (PWR). It is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The AP1000 is an advanced 1154 MWe nuclear power plant that uses the forces of nature and simplicity of design to enhance plant safety and operations while reducing both construction and labor costs.
The granting of such certification is the foundation upon which utilities will construct AP1000 units here in the United States.
Utilities in Georgia and South Carolina have been waiting for the granting of AP1000 Design Certification so that each can move ahead with its combined construction and operating license (COL) applications. Once the NRC grants each utility a COL, approximately 3,000 jobs will be created for each construction site, positively impacting America's manufacturing and construction industries with materials and labor expected to be provided from more than 20 states. It's estimated that approximately 35,000 jobs will be positively affected by the construction of just two AP1000 units here in the United States.
The granting of Design Certification by the NRC Commissioners acknowledges the recommendation of the NRC Staff that the AP1000 design is safe and meets all regulatory requirements, a conclusion drawn after a highly rigorous technical review process, public scrutiny, and an independent assessment by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. It is the second time that the AP1000 design has gone through the rule-making process to receive Design Certification, the first certification being granted in 2006.
Since 2006, the AP1000 design has been modified to meet new and additional NRC requirements, including those that require the design to withstand the impact of an aircraft crash on its shield building, a steel reinforced concrete structure approximately 3 feet thick that protects the steel containment vessel, which houses the reactor. Both the shield building and the containment vessel play significant roles in the passive safety systems of the AP1000 design, which allow it to safely shut down with no, or minimal, operator action and no AC power. The innovative passive safety design was recognized by the NRC as providing significant added capability that allows the plant to safely cope with a Fukushima-type event, a significant reason why the NRC Near-term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima-Daiichi Accident recommended the granting of Design Certification to the AP1000 design without delay.
Westinghouse in 2007 signed contracts with China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), Sanmen Nuclear Power Company Ltd, Shandong Nuclear Power Company Ltd., and China National Technical Import & Export Corporation (CNTIC) to provide four AP1000 nuclear power plants in China.
Similarly, the GE-Hitachi ESBWR Nuclear Reactor Design Received NRCs Final Design Approval
with just one more step to go before a final review, approval, construction and commercial operating license is granted.