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GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s ABWR renewal application formally accepted by the NRC

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has formally accepted the company’s application to renew the design certification for its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) technology. As a result, the agency can formally begin reviewing the application.

GEH is seeking to renew its ABWR design certification for 15 years beyond June 2012, when the original certification is set to expire. The application includes important updates to the 1350+MW ABWR design including the current NRC requirement for an aircraft-impact assessment.

In 1997, GEH’s ABWR became the first Generation III model certified for US construction, but more than 13 years later, most utilities are still deciding whether to begin building new nuclear power plants. With a single nuclear power plant project representing an investment of billions of dollars, NRC-certification status is among the key factors a utility considers in selecting a reactor model.

“We are committed to ensure our ABWR design remains certified for immediate commercial deployment as utilities evaluate their energy priorities,” said Jerald Head, senior vice president of regulatory affairs for GEH. “We look forward to working with the NRC to help support a timely review of our application utilizing the NRC draft guidance issued earlier this year.”

The first two of four ABWRs operating in Japan entered service in 1996 and 1997. Five more ABWRs are currently being built in Japan and Taiwan.

“GEH’s international ABWR experience combined with an NRC-certified reactor design offers U.S. customers confidence that regulatory uncertainty will not impact their project construction costs and schedule,” Head noted.

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