The Atomic Show #167 – Jeff Merrifield – AP1000 Design Certification Application
The topic of this podcast is the status of the design certification application for the Westinghouse AP1000, the system that has been chosen for about half of all of the new nuclear power plant projects that are currently planned in the United States.
Last week, the Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a press release indicating that the commission had determined that there were “technical issues” that must be resolved before a final design certification rule can be issued for the current iteration of the plant design.
Westinghouse has responded to publicity that resulted from that press release with a press release of its own, detailing its position on the remaining technical issues and providing its opinion that the issues will not require any redesign – just a completion of the requested details calculations.
I decided that there was a need for some addition information in this “he said”, “she said” drama, so I made contact with Jeff Merrifield. We chatted on May 27, 2011 via Skype and cell phone while he was waiting for a delayed flight.
Jeff served on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1998-2007. He is now a senior vice president of the Shaw Group which is a partner (and part owner) with Westinghouse Electric Company, the designer of the AP1000. There are eight units of that Generation III advanced light water reactor plant in various stages of construction, with four units in China, two units at the Vogtle site in Georgia and two units at the VC Summer site in South Carolina.
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Rod! More shows like this!
I haven’t listened to this yet, but will. I’ll predict that my comment is pertinent though:
The Chairman is a “malicious complier.” He (like the president) touts that he is for “safe” nuclear power expansion “in the future” without defining “safe” or “future.”
That was a swell interview Rod.
I would have appreciated discussion about the difference in cost if the design of that “brittle SC wall module #2 in Figure 1 (redacted) that Dr Ma is so concerned about was modified in the way he wants.
I wondered, is there just a standard AP1000 or can they supply versions for different performance levels?
A guy who wants to build his AP1000 where all he has to worry about is the standard, common, garden variety event such as an Airbus full of fuel hurled by a Category 5 tornado striking the weakest point of Module #2 just as an earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale occurs is one thing, but what about all those guys who want to build them in more hazardous places?
Some are having a field day with Dr. Ma’s statement that “the impact energy could shatter the wall as it does to a glass cup”. See: http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=11-P13-00015&segmentID=2
Its good to see Rod putting interviews like this out.
I find the Chairman’s conduct in the review of Westinghouse’s design application offensive and demonstrative of the lack of good governance at NRC
to abide by the Administrative Procedures Act and the
rule of law. I don’t believe that NRC has licensed a
new nuclear plant since its existence. So any criticism that NRC is in bed with the industry is without merit.
Its a sad commentary on the operations of the US Federal government that the nuclear industry has been forced to resort to building its business overseas and not in the US.
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