|Rendering of an AP1000 plant|
Duke Power is preparing a combined construction and operating license (COL) application for new nuclear power generation in the US. The application is for two Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) reactors at a site to be named following the conclusion of its current site selection study.
Construction of the last new reactor in the United States was completed in 1996, and there have been no nuclear plants ordered since 1978.
The COL application should be submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission within the next 24-30 months. From the first pouring of concrete to the first fuel loading takes about 36 months, according to Westinghouse.
The AP1000 is a 1,117 to 1,154 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plant that is an extension of the older AP600 design. (It is considered a Generation III Advanced Light Water Reactor.)
The NRC granted a Final Design Approval (FDA) to the AP1000 in September 2004. Like the AP600, the AP1000 uses a modular and simplified design with passive safety systems intended to reduce construction costs while enhancing plant safety and operations.
Westinghouse PWR technology is currently in use at the Duke Power-operated McGuire and Catawba nuclear stations.
|AP1000 safety systems are simpler than conventional PWR systems.|
The AP1000 design uses passive safety systems to enhance the safety of the plant and to satisfy the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) safety criteria. These systems use only natural forces, such as gravity, natural circulation and compressed gas. No pumps, fans, diesels, chillers, or other rotating machinery are used in the passive safety sub-systems.
The passive safety systems include passive safety injection, passive residual heat removal and passive containment cooling. All these passive systems have been designed to meet the NRC single-failure criteria and its recent criteria, including TMI (Three Mile Island) lessons-learned and unresolved/generic safety issues. Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) tools have also been used to quantify the safety of the design.
Simplification of plant systems, combined with increased plant operating margins, reduces the actions required by the operator. The AP1000 has 50% fewer valves, 83% less piping, 87% less control cable, 35% fewer pumps and 50% less seismic building volume than a similarly sized conventional plant. These reductions in equipment and bulk quantities lead to major savings in plant costs and construction schedules.
Westinghouse is partnering with The Shaw Group Inc., a global engineering, design, construction and operations firm, on engineering work for this project.
In preparing to meet future electricity demand, Duke Power is also continuing to evaluate potential new, state-of-the-art coal and combined-cycle plants, and is seeking bids from the wholesale power market.
Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy,is one of the US’ largest electric utilities, serving more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts.