The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will issue a direct final rule certifying Korea Electric Power Corporation and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power’s Advanced Power Reactor 1400.
The certification, valid for 15 years, will state the NRC finds the design fully acceptable for U.S. use.
The two companies submitted an application Dec. 23, 2014, to certify the APR1400 for use in the United States.
The design certification process determines whether a reactor design meets U.S. safety requirements, independent of any specific site or plan to build. It is a required step before a reactor design can be built in the USA, as it can be referenced in construction and operation license (COL) applications for specific reactor projects.
The design, as approved, would produce 1,400 megawatts of electricity. The APR1400 features enhanced systems to safely shut down the reactor or mitigate the effects of an accident.
Full certification allows a utility to reference the design when applying for a Combined License to build and operate a nuclear power plant. Absent adverse comments, the rule will become effective 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.
The NRC has certified five other designs: the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR); System 80+; AP600; AP1000, and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor.
In addition, the NRC is reviewing applications to certify two other designs: the U.S. Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor and the NuScale small modular reactor. The staff is also reviewing an application to renew the ABWR certification.
The APR-1400 is an evolutionary pressurized water reactor with its origins in the CE System 80+ model. Principally designed by Korea Engineering Company (Kopec), it produces 1400 MWe and has a 60-year design life. It supersedes the standardized 995 MWe OPR-1400 design, of which South Korea built 12. The APR-1400 features improvements in operation, safety, maintenance and affordability based on accumulated experience as well as technological development. Design certification by the Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety was awarded in May 2003.
Construction of the first two APR-1400s – as units 3 and 4 of South Korea’s Shin Kori plant – began in October 2008 and August 2009, respectively. Unit 3, which was originally scheduled to enter commercial operation at the end of 2013, eventually reached first criticality in December 2015, was connected to the grid in January 2016 and entered commercial operation in December that year. Unit 4 achieved first criticality on 8 April this year, with grid connection on 22 April.
Click here for more information about the APR1400 design review.