Steve Kuczynski, Chief Nuclear Officer, Southern Co. Speaking to 7th Annual SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit


  1. Seven years after licensing the AP-1000 at two sites in the USA, detailed design and seismic analysis was being performed by URS on modules already constructed and in place. The redesign of the shield wall was costly, but the lead units in China are also many years behind schedule. Proper “Due Diligence” by any of the utilities would have revealed that detailed design had not been performed and only “pretty pictures” existed.
    The high dividend and interest payments made a high capital cost project necessary for the economic survival of the utilities. This was the primary utility objective rather than proper “Due Diligence”. Light Water Reactors have never been an economic alternative for commercial applications. They were introduced as a matter of national security on submarines and aircraft carriers. In these applications, COST was never a consideration. Monopoly “stewardship” is a Utopian idea that is as real as Unicorns

    1. I agree that there is more to this story than is in the media. From speaking with my vendors that also are fabricating structures for the US AP1000 plants, I have learned that the structures were unbuildable using the drawings provided by Westinghouse…and this is after those same structures were fabricated and installed in the Chinese AP1000 plants. “Pretty pictures” indeed. This indicates major design review and control process issues and calls into question just how much knowledge was transferred from the lead Chinese plants to the US plants.

  2. Surely it’s up to the air transport industry to make sure their products cannot be used as terrorist weapons, rather than passing on those costs onto potential targets on the ground?

    Aircraft fly using autopilot, which can be programmed. It must therefore be possible to install protocols that make the deliberate crashing of aircraft into a nuclear reactor impossible.

    Yes, this would be an expense to the aircraft industry, but it’s one they have a moral duty to bear.

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