AP1000 closer to licensing in Canada

30 July 2013

Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor design has successfully passed the second phase of a three-stage pre-licensing review by the Canadian nuclear regulator.

AP1000 reactor
Cutaway of the AP1000 (Image: Westinghouse)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) concluded that there are "no fundamental barriers to licensing the AP1000 design in Canada."

The CNSC's three-stage pre-licensing review is an optional process provided at the request of vendors to verify that a power plant design would be acceptable with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations. Although it is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant, the results would be taken into account for any licence application and would be likely to result in increased efficiencies.

Westinghouse requested in November 2008 that a Phase 1 review of the AP1000 design be carried out. This was completed in January 2010 when the CNSC concluded that, "at an overall level, the design intent complied with the CNSC's regulatory requirements and expectations." In September 2012, Westinghouse and CNSC signed an agreement for a Phase 2 review.

The CNSC said it had uncovered a number of differences between its approach to design requirements and that of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. However, it said that discussions with Westinghouse "led to defining mutually agreeable paths forward towards their resolution."

As a result of the review, Westinghouse has also committed to design changes of instrumentation and control systems and the separation of safety systems.

For the Phase 3 review, a vendor can choose to follow up on specific aspects Phase 2 findings by asking the CNSC to check activities it has taken towards readiness of the reactor design for licensing.

"Westinghouse is pleased to receive this Phase-2 report and views it as a significant step in bringing the AP1000 design to Canada," said Westinghouse president and CEO Danny Roderick.

Other design reviews


Candu Energy's ACR1000 and Enhanced Candu 6 (EC6) reactor designs have already completed the third and final stage of their pre-licensing reviews.

Meanwhile, the Areva-Mitsubishi joint venture reactor design Atmea1 has passed the first stage of the review. The Phase 1 review of Areva's EPR was terminated in December 2012.

Babcock & Wilcox's mPower small modular reactor is also undergoing the pre-licensing review process, with the first phase due to be completed late this year.

Provincial utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is developing plans for up to four new reactors at its Darlington plant, considering the Westinghouse AP1000 and Enhanced Candu 6 designs. At the end of June, OPG received detailed construction plans, schedules and cost estimates for the two reactor designs.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News