The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is raising safety concerns a proposed new reactor designed by Westinghouse, two of which South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and Santee Cooper plan to install at their existing plant north of Columbia.
A key part of the reactor may not withstand a tornado, earthquake or even high winds, NRC said.
The commission staff has directed Westinghouse to make changes in the reactor design so its outer shell, which protects the reactor's containment structure, is strengthened. The staff concluded the steel and concrete structure of the AAP-1000 reactor does not meet safety design requirements.
SCE&G spokesman Robert Yanity said Thursday the redesign is not expected to affect the schedule of the South Carolina reactors, which are set to come online by 2016 and 2019, respectively.
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The project at the V.C. Summer nuclear station near Jenkinsville is projected to cost $10 billion. Utility officials hope to have a combined operating and construction license in hand by 2011.
"We don't anticipate it adding to the cost or there being any delays," Yanity said. "We don't think it will impact our schedule."
In a statement on its Web site Thursday, Westinghouse said it fully expected the NRC to require additional analysis, testing or design modifications to the shield building and had begun addressing portions of the design.