The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the standard design of the Korean-type nuclear reactor APR1400.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp. (KHNP) announced on Oct. 4 that the U.S. nuclear regulator has issued a standard design approval on APR1400.
The approval is expected boost the competitiveness of Korea's nuclear power plant in the U.S. and other countries.
The NRC will issue a design certificate for the APR1400 by May 2019 after future public hearings and legalization processes.
In order to construct and operate nuclear power plants in the U.S., South Korea needs to obtain a design certificate from the NCR.
The NCR approval certifies the safety of a standard design that is applied to the entire nuclear plant.
As KHNP has secured NCR’s standard design approval on the APR1400, it can build a nuclear plant in the U.S. only if it obtains safety approval on areas where the standard design is not applied.
As a result, KHNP expects to gain the upper hand in entering the U.S. market due to a reduction in time and costs required for the approval process.
Since the NCR’s design approval is recognized as an indicator of technological reliability by the global nuclear power industry, it will strengthen the overall export base for Korean nuclear power plants.
A U.S. design certificate is valid for 15 years and can be extended for up to another 15 years.
KHNP applied to NRC for certification of the APR1400 standard design on December 23, 2014.
APR1400 is a 1,400MW pressurized light-water reactor developed by South Korea's own technology.
It has been applied to the 5th and 6th Shingori plants and the 4th Shingori and 1st and 2nd Shinhanul plants.
Korea has already exported the APR1400 to the United Arab Emirates, and is currently pushing to export it to Saudi Arabia, the U.K., the Czech Republic, and Poland.
KHNP started preparing for design certification from December 2010 and applied to NRC for design certification in December 2014.
NRC began its screening in March 2015 and finished its 42-month-long review in September this year.
Until now, companies that have obtained NRC design certification are mostly American businesses such as GE, Westinghouse, GE, and Hitachi.
Among other countries, Areva of France and Mitsubishi of Japan applied for the review in December 2007, but the review process for Areva has been suspended while that for Mitsubishi has made little progress.
The APR1400 is recognized for its safety in major countries around the world. KHNP is also on track to obtaining a European design approval on the reactor as a standard design for the EU-APR, a version of the APR1400 tailored to Europe, passed the screening of the European certification body in October last year..