GE Hitachi Nuclear ABWR renewal process moves forward with NRC

GEH is seeking to renew its ABWR design certification for 15 years beyond June 2012, when the original certification is set to expire

Wilmington, N.C., February 23, 2011 — GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally accepted the company’s application to renew the design certification for its advanced boiling water reactor technology. As a result, the agency can formally begin reviewing the application.

GEH is seeking to renew its ABWR design certification for 15 years beyond June 2012, when the original certification is set to expire. The application includes important updates to the 1,350-plus-MW ABWR design including the current NRC requirement for an aircraft-impact assessment.

In 1997, GEH’s ABWR became the first Generation III model certified for U.S. construction, but more than 13 years later, most utilities are still deciding whether to begin building new nuclear power plants.

With a single nuclear power plant project representing an investment of billions of dollars, NRC-certification status is among the key factors a utility considers in selecting a reactor model.

The first two of four ABWRs operating in Japan entered service in 1996 and 1997. Five more ABWRs are currently being built in Japan and Taiwan.

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