August 31st, 2010 | 12:43 pm

AP: Utilities Taking New Approach to Buying Nuclear Plants

Taishan 1 EPR construction site in China.

According to an Associated Press article published today, U.S. electric utilities are looking to buy reactors “off-the-shelf,” choosing from a few different reactor designs. The article focuses on Southern Company’s new reactor at Plant Vogtle under development in Georgia. While the Vogtle project uses the AP1000 design, the piece also mentions AREVA’s EPR technology and several other designs.

Jacques Besnainou, CEO of AREVA North America, said safety was a selling point for his firm’s EPR, which has a system to catch and cool a molten core in the event of a major accident.

Despite the challenges of building new plants, he said, AREVA is benefiting from its experience in Finland and France, and the two EPR projects are on schedule.

“The key here is to be able to demonstrate that we can build a new reactor on time and on budget,” he said. “Once we do that, the renaissance as a whole is golden.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.