Halloween comes early for the AP1000
Westinghouse engineers are burning the midnight oil in Pittsburgh this week, and it’s not because they are filling trick-of-treat goodie bags. The reason is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) threw a scare into the company and with it set teeth on edge at five U.S. power utilities and two provinces in China.
What happened is that the NRC appears to have lost its patience with the company after holding discussions with firm for the past 12 months on design changes to its AP1000 reactor. According to an NRC press release, the agency feels the shield building, which provides the primary containment safety barrier for the reactor, isn’t going to do everything expected of it.
The decision has the potential to delay construction of 14 new U.S. reactors worth collectively over $80 billion. Public utility commissions in states that allow cost recovery for reactors while they are being built are nervous about the possibility of these delays. The NRC’s action has already hammered the stock of a key contractor building the plants.
Full details in my exclusive report at the Energy Collective.
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