The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final safety evaluation report and standard design approval for Korea Electric Power Corporation and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power’s Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400), a step that deems the reactor "technically acceptable," but does not fully certify the design.
The approval, which is valid for 15 years, was issued October 5. "Separately," the regulator said, "the NRC is preparing a rulemaking to fully certify the design for U.S. use."
The design is a 1400 MWe pressurized water reactor considered an improved version of the Korean Optimized Power Reactor 1000. It has improved safety features and efficiencies designed to simplify operations and maintenance.
There are four similar plants in operation or under construction in South Korea, including Shin Kori 3, which reached first criticality in December 2015 and entered into commercial operations 12 months later. The same design has been chosen for the Barakah NPP in the United Arab Emirates, which is currently under construction.
"The APR1400 features enhanced systems to safely shut down the reactor or mitigate the effects of an accident," the NRC said, however, neither a standard design approval nor design certification grant permission to build or operate a reactor. Full certification, if granted, is valid for 15 years and allows a utility to reference the design when applying for a Combined License to build and operate a nuclear power plant.
The NRC has certified five other designs: the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, System 80+, AP600, AP1000, and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor. The staff 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.
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