NRC’s Magwood Backs AP1000 Reactor Design for Majority Vote

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission member William Magwood joined two colleagues in voting to certify the AP1000 reactor from Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse Electric unit, providing the majority needed to back the design.

Magwood voted Dec. 6 for approval, according to a notice from the agency today. Southern Co. of Atlanta and Scana Corp. of Cayce, South Carolina, plan to build AP1000 reactors near existing plants.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Commissioner George Apostolakis had also voted to certify the reactor design. The full commission hasn’t scheduled a vote on the final certification rule, a step that will let companies buy the AP1000 reactor.

The commission is weighing separate rules to improve safety at U.S. reactors after an earthquake and tsunami in March triggered meltdowns and radiation leaks at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

“As we develop a regulatory response to Fukushima, it is certainly possible that some changes may need to be made to the AP1000 or at least to any” licenses that reference it, Magwood said in comments attached to his vote.

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