The regulatory process for two new nuclear power reactors in South Carolina is drawing towards its end with the delivery of a safety evaluation report on the reactor units.
The Final Safety Evaluation Report issued yesterday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerns the planned Westinghouse AP1000 power units and must be combined with another NRC assessment of a revision to that design. Those documents would then go together with a Final Environmental Impact Statement for consideration by the commission and a public hearing, after which a combined construction and operating license for the plant as a whole is expected to be issued to South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G).
The company has already undertaken extensive ground preparations at Summer, in a section of the site a few hundred metres from where a pressurized water reactor already operates. Excavations have been made for both new units and their shared switchyard. Module assembly stations are ready and foundations are in place for heavy-lift derrick cranes. Chicago Bridge and Iron is a sub-contractor on the job and has readied an assembly area for the large steel bottom head for the containment vessel.
SCE&G plan to begin construction early in 2012 and bring the first new reactor into operation before the end of 2016. The second new unit is to follow with its schedule offset by about three years. The project is very similar to Southern Company's Vogtle development at which site work is at a similar level ahead of construction of two AP1000s.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News