GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced it has submitted its application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to renew the certification for its proven Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) technology. Among its benefits, the ABWR design provides greater certainty over the costs for building new nuclear power plants.
GEH is seeking to extend the design certification for 15 years beyond June 2012, when its original ABWR certification is set to expire. The application includes an important design update to reflect the current NRC requirement for an aircraft impact assessment.
“The GEH ABWR technology remains the world’s only Generation III design in operation,” said Danny Roderick, senior vice president, nuclear plant projects for GEH. “Our renewal application demonstrates our commitment to the proven ABWR product and our confidence in our long-term growth prospects as many utilities are still evaluating their future power supply needs, project costs, energy prices and other market factors.”
GEH believes that its 1,350 plus-megawatt ABWR also remains the only Generation III model with proven construction, licensing and operating experience. Four ABWRs are operating in Japan, and the global nuclear alliance is building four more units in Japan and Taiwan. "Having ABWRs that have just started construction through those in startup for plant operation gives us a wide range of experience in new plant construction to continue our legacy of over 50 years of building new units around the world without ever stopping,” Roderick said.
With a single reactor project representing an investment of several billion dollars, a reactor model’s certification status, construction costs and operating experience combined with a supplier’s capability to construct, provide fuel for and service these new plants after they are online are among the key factors a utility considers before selecting a specific technology.
In 1997, GEH’s ABWR became the first Generation III reactor model to be certified for U.S. construction. More than 13 years later, international construction and operating experience allow GEH to offer utilities maximum project cost and schedule certainty, combined with the latest in Generation III safety features. As a result, “the design is ideally suited for utilities seeking to add near-term nuclear capacity,” Roderick said.
The NRC must next docket, or accept, GEH’s renewal application to begin its formal review.