| Insights | Nuclear Update Site

NRC Approves Final Rule to Certify GE-Hitachi New Reactor Design

Today, the NRC approved a rule to certify GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) design for use in the United States.  The ESBWR is a 1,594 megawatt electric, natural circulation reactor. The design includes passive safety features that would cool down the reactor after an accident without the need for human intervention. The NRC conducted an extensive technical evaluation of the design and issued a safety evaluation report in March 2011.  GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy submitted its application for ESBWR certification on Aug. 24, 2005.  The certification rule notice includes discussion of both public comments on a March 2011 proposed rule, as well as information in petitions submitted to the NRC after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.  The NRC supplemented the draft certification rule in May 2014 to account for changes in analysis of the design’s steam dryer, which prevents excess moisture from damaging a nuclear power plant’s electricity-generating turbine. NRC reviewers asked for additional steam dryer information from GE-Hitachi between 2011 and 2013. The staff’s examination of that information led to the supplement, which also formally incorporated several dozen reference documents as requirements in the draft certification rule.  The NRC is currently reviewing two Combined License applications referencing the ESBWR design.  The NRC has certified four other standard reactor designs: the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, System 80+, AP600, and AP1000.

To access the NRC News Release, click here.