We commend today’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval of two new nuclear reactors at Vogtle, and welcome the growing resurgence of modern nuclear energy in the United States. By approving these new reactor designs, the NRC takes the first step in advancing an era of even safer and more robust Generation III+ nuclear energy facilities, like AREVA’s EPR(TM) reactor. These advanced nuclear reactors incorporate defense-in-depth safety and design lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster that include:
- Multiple redundant passive and active safety features
- Double-hulled four-foot thick concrete reactor buildings able to withstand the impact of a jetliner
- Greater operating efficiency and reliability
As NEI president Marvin Fertel stated, “This is a historic day. Today’s licensing action sounds a clarion call to the world that the United States recognizes the importance of expanding nuclear energy as a key component of a low-carbon energy future that is central to job creation, diversity of electricity supply and energy security.”
And there’s more where that came from … the NRC is considering 18 Combined Licenses (COL) requesting authorization to build and operate nuclear power plants in the U.S., and an additional two Early Site Permit applications with the four already approved for locating nuclear facilities. The opportunity seems ripe for initiating the replacement of fossil fuel-based electricity generation, including coal and natural gas, with clean energy nuclear and renewables.
The two Vogtle reactor approvals join more than 60 reactors approved or under construction worldwide. Along with the new build projects here in the United States, other projects represent the nuclear industry’s continuing implementation of modern components and safety upgrades into existing facilities. At TVA’s Bellefonte facility in northern Alabama, AREVA is supplying a state-of-the-art digital reactor Instrumentation & Control (I&C) system, a completely modernized control room, and a plant simulator for training operations personnel. Last month during Nuclear Science Week, we announced the planned placement of a Filter Containment Venting System (FCVS) in a Romanian reactor to enhance its emergency safety system. Internationally, the safety systems in AREVA’s ATMEA(TM) reactor were approved by the French Nuclear Safety Authority.
We look forward to the NRC’s continued considered review and actions to enable the growth and expansion of safe, clean, reliable nuclear energy in the United States.