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  • David Power
    New nuclear plants for the new year. 1:58 PM EST Friday NRC OKs Westinghouse nuclear plant design Westinghouse Electric Co. s nuclear plant design using
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2005
      New nuclear plants for the new year.
      1:58 PM EST Friday

      NRC OKs Westinghouse nuclear plant design

      Westinghouse Electric Co.'s nuclear plant design using pressurized water was approved Friday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a move the company said could lead to the first construction of a nuclear power plant in the United States since before the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

      Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse's Advanced Passive 1000 nuclear plant design uses pressurized water to fire the plant. France's Areva also has a pressurized-water design, while General Electric Co. uses a boiling water model.

      In a statement, Westinghouse senior vice president Daniel Lipman said the action was a positive step.

      "Westinghouse is certainly pleased to have achieved this latest milestone for the AP1000, and we look forward to working with utilities both in the U.S. and worldwide to build this advanced, inherently safe plant," Lipman said.

      Using the AP1000, Westinghouse is leading a consortium that is bidding to build four nuclear reactors in China, a deal that could be worth $6 billion.

      If the Westinghouse group wins the China bid, it's anticipated the work would preserve and create some 4,000 to 5,000 jobs in the United States, much of it in Western Pennsylvania.

      Westinghouse officials recently said they had no idea when China would decide on a vendor or vendors for the plants in the cities of Sanmen and Yangjiang. Chinese officials have said the decision, originally expected by the end of 2005, would be delayed into 2006.

      Areva is also bidding for the China project.

      In October, the Duke Power Co., a division of Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE:DUK), contracted with Westinghouse to have two AP1000 reactors built.

      The U.S. hasn't built a reactor since prior to the failure of a unit at Three Mile Island in 1979. A fire at Ukraine's Chernobyl reactor in 1986 also heightened safety concerns.

      The U.S. government has said it aims to begin building new reactors around 2010.

      Westinghouse is also competing to build new reactors for the United Kingdom, although Areva is said to be the front-runner.

      Westinghouse, founded in 1886 in Pittsburgh by George Westinghouse, was acquired in 1998 by British government-owned BNFL from CBS Corp. for almost $1.2 billion, including $238 million in cash.

      BNFL is now seeking to sell Westinghouse. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. have submitted bids.

      David Power
      Green Planet Energy
      "Changing the world one Watt at a time"
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