AREVA applies for U.S. EPR design certification
December 11, 2007
Today, AREVA achieved a major milestone in its commitment to the U.S. nuclear energy sector by applying for U.S. NRC certification of its U.S. EPR nuclear plant design. The application is ahead of schedule and supports the certainty of 2015 completion for the first EPR to be deployed in the USA.
“By building on our considerable licensing experience in the USA as well as that gained through the detailed licensing processes in Finland and France, we have prepared what we believe is the most thorough design certification application the NRC has received to date,” said Tom Christopher, CEO of AREVA Inc. “We were able to achieve a high level of detail and confidence in the design application because of the completeness of the global EPR design now under construction, and by working directly with a large and highly respected energy company, Constellation Energy. We look forward to a timely NRC review and continued success for the EPR in the USA.”
Constellation Energy and AREVA formed the original UniStar Nuclear business model in 2005 to deploy and operate a standardized global fleet of EPRs. AREVA is the first reactor supplier to work with a U.S. customer on design certification.
“The timeliness of our submittal demonstrates AREVA's commitment to working effectively with the NRC toward licensing safe, affordable new baseload generation in the U.S.,” said Ray Ganthner, Senior Vice President of AREVA's New Plants Deployment group. “I am very proud of what our team has accomplished and am confident our application will be accepted and reviewed in a timely manner.”
The EPR is the only reactor technology of the industry's Generation III+ design category currently under construction anywhere in the world. Safety-grade construction on the first AREVA EPR began in Finland in 2005, and in 2007 in France for the second EPR. The EPR has begun the prelicensing phase in the United Kingdom. This application is AREVA's fourth licensing process for EPR reactor technology worldwide. The fifth licensing process will occur in China, where a contract for two EPRs was signed in November as part of the biggest contract ever in the history of nuclear power.
AREVA's U.S. EPR is the first advanced reactor design or certification application that is entirely commercially funded and supported. AREVA demonstrated its confidence in nuclear energy and the U.S. market by investing more than $200 million to launch the U.S. EPR. Environmental considerations were an important design objective for the EPR, giving it a significant role in avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel sources. Other environmental benefits of the design include optimizing the amount of land required for a plant of its size, more efficient nuclear fuel consumption and other innovative features.
The EPR design application is comprised of some 12,000 pages of documentation prepared by a project team of 325 engineers and 55 support staff. AREVA initiated official discussion with the NRC in January 2005 to begin the U.S. EPR pre-application licensing phase. Dozens of technical exchanges and planning meetings with the NRC were held, and more than a dozen topical reports and supporting materials were provided to obtain early approval of some information in order to ensure the most efficient review process possible.
Submittal of a design certification application is the first step in obtaining approval from the U.S. NRC necessary for a nuclear plant design to be built. The NRC can certify a reactor design for up to 15 years. The NRC review will address the safety issues of an essentially complete nuclear power plant design, independent of a specific site.
The AREVA EPR is an evolutionary 1,600 MW net pressurized water reactor design based on proven technology. The EPR is the world's most advanced reactor design currently under construction. The EPR incorporates significant improvements in safety and economics over previous technologies, operating at a lower cost over the expected life of the plant and providing unparalleled safety margins for the 21st century.