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Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 9:53am

Study Shows Problems With Reactor Design

A coalition of 12 environmental groups released a new study that examines problems with the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor.

According to the study by Fairewinds Associates, the reactor’s design doesn’t include a secondary barrier to shield the outside from nuclear material in case the steel containment wall is damaged.

In the study Fairewinds engineer Arnold Gunderson cites a Pennsylvania case where corrosion caused a hole in the wall

"If an accident occurred with a hole of this size the radiation dose to the population could be 10 times greater than the NRC allows," said Gunderson.

The AP1000 design must be approved by Nuclear Regulatory Commission before two of the reactors can be built at Plant Votgle. Gunderson says he plans to ask the NRC to hold up the process until the design flaws are addressed.

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