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Review of Doe’s Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program
of EPRI, major international utilities in Europe and Asia, and qualified reactor suppliers, all of whom cofunded the program. DOE established cooperative agreements with industry by which their management responsibilities could be discharged. USNRC was kept fully informed of progress, commented on the results of the program, and performed independent confirmatory analyses and experiments. A prime utility goal was to oversee the development of the utility requirements documents (URDs) (EPRI, 1990) to provide owner-operator guidelines to the designers of the new plants. A key purpose of the URDs was to apply the lessons learned in the first worldwide deployment of nuclear power, focused on increased safety, reliability, design, and operational simplification and integration. In 1992, a National Research Council (NRC) report on nuclear power encouraged continuation of that R&D effort on ALWRs (NRC, 1992).
Testing was completed on two 600-MWe designs featuring passive emergency core and containment cooling systems: the Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR) AP600 and the General Electric (GE) simplified boiling water reactor (SBWR), on which the power-upgraded Westinghouse AP10003 and the GE ESBWR4 are based. Design certifications were obtained from USNRC for the AP600, the evolutionary advanced BWR (ABWR),5 and the advanced PWR System 80+.6
With rising concern over global warming, rapidly increasing energy prices, greatly improved performance of existing LWR plants with average capacity factors exceeding 90 percent, and the stimulation of U.S. energy policy (NEPDG, 2001), DOE sponsored the NP 2010 program, cost-shared with U.S industry. The principal focus of NP 2010 was to move beyond R&D to the deployment of new nuclear plants.
Approach to Evaluation
The criteria used in the evaluation of NP 2010 were those provided in the committee’s statement of task. The remainder of this chapter contains three main sections:
Overall program description,
Goals, timetables, and progress, and
The areas covered under program description include primary milestones, licensing demonstration, costs, management responsibilities and organizations, standardization, ITAAC, infrastructure needs, setting priorities, oversight methods and metrics, cooperative industry–government R&D, economic issues, and EPAct05. The program descriptions are derived from DOE and industry documentation, presentations by DOE management, nuclear consortia leaders, and industry representatives from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and EPRI. The penultimate section brings the goals and timetables up to date and assesses progress. The final section presents the committee’s recommendations.
OVERALL PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The NP 2010 program includes the following technical goals7,8:
Demonstrate key untested regulatory processes.
Obtain three ESPs.
DCs for new reactors
Obtain approval of AP1000 design certification amendments.
Complete ongoing design certification of the ESBWR.
Provide guidance on COL generic issues.
Obtain USNRC acceptance of AP1000 and ES-BWR COL applications.
Complete ITAAC demonstrations.
Obtain two COLs.
Complete first-of-a-kind engineering (design finalization) of new standardized nuclear plant designs to provide improved safety, reliability, and economy.
Determine the plant’s capital and O&M costs, construction time, and levelized cost of electricity.
Provide technical support for risk insurance definitions (standby support) for the first six new U.S. nuclear plants (legislated in EPAct05).
DOE solicited proposals from industry for New Plant Licensing Projects and design completions that would dem-
G. Davis, Westinghouse, “The certified AP1000 standard design,” Presentation to the committee on November 8, 2006.
R. Kingston, GE, “New units: ESBWR and ABWR,” Presentation to the committee on November 8, 2006. See also D. Hinds and C. Maslak, The next generation of nuclear energy: The ESBWR, Nuclear News, American Nuclear Society, January 2006: 35-40.