Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power's (KHNP's) APR1000 reactor design has been formally certified as compliant by the European Utility Requirements (EUR) organisation - a technical advisory group for European utilities on nuclear power plants.
The APR1000 reactor design (Image: KHNP)
The Korean nuclear industry - including KHNP, KEPCO E&C, KEPCO NF, and Doosan Enerbility - officially applied for EUR certification in November 2019. The assessment was launched in February 2021.
The process of design assessment for EUR certification requires at least two sponsors from EUR members as one of the prerequisites to a new assessment. For the APR1000 standard design assessment, three sponsors and six supporters - more than half of the total EUR members - participated in the evaluation, KHNP said.
The EUR requirements cover a broad range of conditions for a nuclear power plant to operate efficiently and safely. They include such areas as plant layout, systems, materials, components, probabilistic safety assessment methodology and availability assessment. Although still requiring regulatory design approval in each country, EUR compliance indicates that the reactor design meets a list of requirements set by the utilities for the next generation of light water reactors.
KHNP noted it has gone through the assessment process in a relatively short period of time - 22 months - "by providing high-quality documentation for the main design assessment and appropriate responses to questions. The speed and smoothness of the certification process are owed mainly to KHNP's previous experience with European standards, which was gained by the company on the basis of acquiring EUR certification for APR1400 in November 2017".
The company said it submitted a broad range of technical documentation for being subjected to EUR assessment dealing with 20 areas and about 5000 requirements, while successfully responding to all the questions posed by the EUR organisation.
"The acquisition of the EUR certificate has significance for nuclear plant export market diversification by realising nuclear designs that can be applied to nuclear plant construction not only in Europe but also in other regions where the European requirement are applicable," KHNP said. "For KHNP, acquisition of the final EUR certificate enhances the possibility of winning orders for nuclear projects in European countries including the ongoing project in the Czech Republic".
KHNP describes the APR1000 as a reactor design localised for European conditions, conforming to the latest European requirements based on recent international standards and references from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association.
The APR1000 is an evolutionary pressurised water reactor (PWR) which has been developed from the proven OPR1000 design. The design - intended for overseas markets - is based on the experience that has been accumulated through the development, construction, and operation of the OPR1000, the first standard PWR plant in South Korea. A total of 12 OPR1000 units have been built and put into operation in South Korea. The APR1000 also utilises the state-of-the-art proven technology and incorporates a number of advanced design features from the larger APR1400 to meet the utility's needs for enhanced economic goals and to improved plant safety.
The EUR effort was launched in December 1991 by several European utilities to produce a common set of utility requirements endorsed by major European utilities for the next generation of light water reactor (LWR) nuclear power plants. It was modelled on the US Electric Power Research Institute's Utility Requirements Document for advanced LWRs. EUR currently has 13 nuclear operator members in 12 European countries.