On December 22, 2011, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a rule certifying an amended version of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design for use in the United States. The amended design certification, which will be incorporated into the NRC’s regulations, will be valid for 15 years.
The AP1000 is a 1,100 megawatt electric pressurized-water reactor. Westinghouse submitted an application for certification of the original AP1000 standard plant design on March 28, 2002, and the NRC issued a rule certifying that original design on January 27, 2006.
Westinghouse, however, submitted an application to amend the AP1000 on May 27, 2007, in order to ensure that the AP1000 could meet certain post 9/11 requirements, which included incorporation of protection around the building that could sustain the impact of an airplane crash.
Many in the industry now expect that the NRC will issue combined construction and operating licenses for new nuclear units.