Nuclear Reactor Designs Approved for Construction

Approval of Reactor Design Clears Path for New Plants [NY Times]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a new reactor design.

The decision, a milestone in the much-delayed revival of plant construction sought by the nuclear industry, involves the Westinghouse AP1000, a 1,154-megawatt reactor with a so-called advanced passive design. It relies more heavily on forces like gravity and natural heat convection and less on pumps, valves and operator actions than other models do, in theory diminishing the probability of an accident.

Government is not known for its expertise – so it doesn’t give me great comfort that they are the arbitors of what is built. Remember Solyndra?

Two reactors will be constructed – one in South Carolina and Georgia. 3,000 high paying construction jobs per job site are expected.

Congress has approved $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors and there is considerable support for even more, but it is not clear that borrowers will emerge.

So here are more energy subsidies that provide the opportunity for private success with a decreased financial risk. It is not stated how much of the $18.5B Westinghouse will receive.

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