Aug 18, 2011

Westinghouse Reactor Takes a Step Forward

The reactor at the leading edge of what has been cast as a “nuclear renaissance” has taken a step forward.

The staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday that it had finished its evaluation of the safety of the proposed Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors, a Southern Company project near Augusta, Ga. The staff has also completed work on Southern’s application for a license to build and run the reactors.

Scott Burnell, a commission spokesman, said that the basic question facing the commission is whether it is satisfied with its staff’s work on safety and environmental evaluations related to the reactor, the new Westinghouse AP-1000. If the commission votes yes, “then things are good,’’ he said.

The AP-1000 (the letters stand for “advanced passive” technology and the number is the reactor’s approximate capacity in megawatts) has a complicated history. It was approved once before but after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and other considerations, it needed more work.

There are still opponents, and they may still seek to delay approval.

Read full at NY Times