October 13, 2011
Contact: Jim Warren
TWO MORE SETS OF DELAYS for the Westinghouse Reactor leave controversial approval delayed for at least 3 months
After 13 months of trying, company’s analysis “failed to effectively demonstrate the ability of the shield building to withstand an aircraft impact” says NRC
Statement from NC WARN director Jim Warren:
Durham, NC – Reuters has just reported that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification of new nuclear reactors has been delayed by evaluation of earthquake and tsunami damage to Japan’s Fukushima plant. Now, instead of an industry-pressured vote for final design certification on the Westinghouse AP1000 occurring in early October, the agency says the full commission “is still expected to act on the final certification of Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 design by year-end,” according to Reuters. That’s a three-month delay, minimum.
In addition, a new NRC document found today by Friends of the Earth watchdog Tom Clements shows that after a year of wrestling with complex calculations involving the controversial “shield building” of the AP1000, Westinghouse still cannot meet rules requiring the structure to withstand impacts from large aircraft.
“Therefore, the WEC analysis failed to effectively demonstrate the ability of the shield building to withstand an aircraft impact.”
That’s a line from page 3 of a Notice of Violation posted on NRC’s ADAMS website late yesterday, and dated October 3rd. The inability to ensure compliance with defensive regulations, on its own, is quite telling.
But even more compelling is the fact that the NRC and Westinghouse have been struggling since the failure was identified in September 2010 – and during repeated inspections from May to August of this year – to resolve the shortcomings.
Not only does this signal extended delays and cost overruns for Southern Company and SCE&G, both of which have already expended hundreds of millions in “pre-construction” dollars, but it calls into great question whether Westinghouse will ever be able to meet the aircraft rules, thus to ever gain certification of the AP1000 reactor.
* I can forward the violation report upon request.