ESBWR approval

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a final safety evaluation report (FSER) and final design approval (FDA) for GE-Hitachi’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). The approval, which indicates the NRC finds the design technically acceptable but does not fully certify the design, is good for 15 years. GE-Hitachi said that the FDA clears the way for the ESBWR to be built in countries around the world that recognize the FDA of a reactor design as acceptance by the “country of origin.”

NRC staff has spent approximately five years reviewing the 1,500 MW ESBWR. NRC said the reactor features enhanced systems to safely shut down the reactor or mitigate the effects of an accident.

Neither a final design approval nor design certification grants permission to build or operate a reactor. Full certification, if granted by the Commission following the staff’s recommendation, is valid for 15 years and allows a utility to reference the design when applying for a Combined License to build and operate a nuclear power plant.

GE-Hitachi expects to receive final design certification in the fall of 2011.

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