"Westinghouse Electric Co. and U.S. regulators are wrangling over statements made about the safety of the AP1000 nuclear reactor design, which could be used in at least 14 proposed reactors in the United States.
Attention to the approval process and nuclear safety has piqued in the aftermath of Japan's nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that ripped through the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Westinghouse, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp., yesterday said statements the NRC made about safety issues with the design led to misinterpretation and speculation about the AP1000. In a release on May 20, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko called on the company to make certain safety changes to its design before the agency would consider the proposal, first submitted in December 2010.
'NRC statements regarding the discovery of new issues relating to the approval of design amendments for the AP1000 nuclear power plant are being misinterpreted and sensationalized,' Ricardo Pérez, president of operations for Westinghouse, said in a statement yesterday. 'NRC statements, including a news release issued May 20, do not reflect Westinghouse's transparent and cooperative approach to the handling of the discovery and severity of the few remaining issues that need to be resolved before receiving approval from the NRC.' "
Hannah Northey reports for Greenwire May 27, 2011.