The U.S. nuclear regulatory institution has finally certified Korea’s nuclear reactor, Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400), paving the way for exports of Korean nuclear power plants to the United States and other overseas markets.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) said on May 1 that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced in its website on April 30 that it “will issue a direct final rule certifying Korea Electric Power Corporation and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power’s Advanced Power Reactor 1400. The certification, valid for 15 years, will state that the NRC finds the design fully acceptable for U.S. use. Absent adverse comments, the rule will become effective 120 days following publication in the Federal Register.”
KHNP applied for the certification of the APR1400 standard design on Dec. 23, 2014. The NRC commenced a review in March 2015. KHNP received the standard design approval from the NRC in September of last year.
The NRC said “the APR1400 features enhanced systems to safely shut down the reactor or mitigate the effects of an accident.” It added, “Full certification allows a utility to reference the design when applying for a Combined License to build and operate a nuclear power plant.”
A standard design is a design for the entire nuclear power plant, except for some areas where the characteristics of the construction site should be reflected, for the purpose of repeated construction of the same nuclear power plant. Design certification, which is valid for 15 years, is carried out by the NRC examining the standard design at the request of the applicant, and it is legislated in the Annex to the Federal Regulations once safety is proven. When a power operator in the United States wishes to obtain a license for the construction and operation of a design certified nuclear power plant, the portion to which the standard design is applied is exempted from examination.
The APR1400 is a pressurized water reactor with a capacity of 1400 megawatts and a design life of 60 years. In Korea, it is applied to eight units, including Shin-Kori 3 to 6 and Shin-Hanul 1 to 4. In particular, the APR1400 has been selected as the first export model of Korean nuclear power plant and four nuclear power plants are under construction in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based on it.