New Nuclear Reactor Is a Go for U.S.

Federal regulators approve Westinghouse AP 1000 to be built on American soil.
7:53 | 12/22/11

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Transcript for New Nuclear Reactor Is a Go for U.S.
Be hard to believe but it than thirty years three decades since any new nuclear power plants have been built in the United States. That may be about to change today -- Nuclear Regulatory Commission the NRC. Approved the design of a new reactor it is called the eight 1000. And was designed by Westinghouse electric company. The NRC says the design would be safer than anything built before and could even -- -- damage if a plane crashed into. Joining us now with more on today's decision and what. It means as Westinghouse CEO heiress -- risk. Mr. -- thank you so much for joining us from Pittsburgh. Thank you -- -- put this in perspective. Does this certification. From the NRC mean this -- -- gotten. Absolutely does yes as a matter of fact that after this announcement they'll be another one coming within the next month. About this so called combined operating licenses which will actually allow construction. Nuclear construction be precise. To proceed at two sites in the south one in the in south -- -- and the other one in Georgia. And that I don't need to tell you will entail a significant increase in jobs in the area and and jobs overall for the industry. OK to talk about that in a little in a little bit but first are there any other hurdles regulatory or otherwise that need to be -- -- Before ground is broken on these reactors. None in the wanted to mention about -- combined offering licenses for the utility. Okay now -- -- said it's been more than thirty years since there been any new reactors built in the US. 1000 and how it's different from those from decades past. Well. The reactors in the past have. Relied significantly on the availability of AC power after they shut down doing an accident type of situation. When we started to what I designed the -- 1000 which was about twenty years ago actually. We decided that we need to have a design that relies exclusively on natural forces things like gravity convection and the like. So post accident the 81000 does not require AP in AC power. And and just make little simpler. You obviously everybody in the audience who has thought about the Fukushima accident that follow the tsunami and to present enough. Eight in March -- this year had an eight 1000 being on that site who -- -- -- known nuclear news post this numbing. Well let's talk about that a little bit more at the Fukushima power plant as everyone knows became a major crisis. Within Japan that continues. Even now all of these months later it's sort of in some ways may have turned people lost -- nuclear power what you say to those people that are still unsure that nuclear power can be completely safe. Well obviously there -- all lessons learned from Fukushima and an end in spite of the fact that nuclear has been -- -- -- -- fifty years. It is still learning industry authority early in the in the it's so overall development if you look at historical development of industries in in the past. So. The there's no question that. -- -- you my had a significant impact on public opinion. Even though I can tell you that the -- in the US and other parts of the world as well that is turning around and of course with the design like the -- 1000 coming in. We have new options in the industry going forward. So a lot of what you're saying it and makes -- 1000 safer than other reactors is really the power source how it gets power. Saying much the same basic concept -- you know -- -- uranium but obviously via. The big difference is how that's being done enough in the system and hasn't said before the fact that -- -- -- You end up with a much safer design. -- you've had in the past not the designs of their they are now. Are not safe by the way but you basically taken to another level. Pet is -- 1000 an operation anywhere else. No he's under construction right now we have four units that are being constructed as we speak in China. Okay that's interesting and Huron avenue west where we expect to see these reactors -- you mention the south. Yes we currently have -- orders for six such units. Four of them the construction the pre nuclear construction already started -- assent to in Georgia and into in South Carolina. And there we have -- expression of interest in discussions with -- utilities in the US for about fourteen. Certainly your view are the benefits of nuclear power in this day -- age over other forms of energy everything from fossil fuels to wind. To solar there -- companies trying to capitalize on those forms of energy. Do you want makes -- nuclear the best. Will first of all new theories of base load power so when you compare -- with solar wind the significant differences in how those -- -- -- this is not anymore. A question of either or I think we need going forward. To have as many options for non CO2 -- meeting powers as we can and that's another advantage of nuclear. Similar to solar similar to -- he does not emit any CO2 into the atmosphere. More importantly though in terms of both cost and stability of cost. Nuclear provide some unique advantages because it's very low reliance -- fuel cost going forward you basically have a constant. Pricing of electricity available to you. Let's talk about the jobs that's really good news that could come out of this you see these projects would create nearly 3000 jobs on each site. What sort of jobs are we talking about here. The jobs on the side primarily engineering construction type of jobs but in addition to those -- and more importantly on a more stable -- than just a construction jobs and after about five was six years obviously. When construction is done those jobs who probably won't will disappear. You have the operations of -- -- as an ongoing basis but also even before that. The engineering support that's required in order to design and manufacture. Well the equipment to go into these plants we have estimated for example. That for every dual unit site we create to sustain about 35000. Jobs. And even for projects overseas. Stephanie. Just taking that as an example the -- -- jobs that we have mentioned earlier. For those four units have created -- sustained about 5000 jobs here in the US. And I am not for the communities that these reactors are going to be an -- that is good news is there are other convincing that you need to do. In those communities as far as the safety concerns go. No as a matter of fact you find out that in those communities since they've all had to existing who both have had existing units already both enough. It means George decided in the south -- aside there are operating reactors right now -- going to be adding to them. In any one of these sites that we have -- nuclear power plants the surrounding area is usually very heavily pro nuclear. There have -- via and -- lived with those reactors -- -- years to see the benefits from them. And and the very much in favor of more. OK final question how soon will -- be able to get a tour of one of the -- You can have a tornado in that in China where you can wait for a few more years and that one in Georgia South Carolina. Our right Eric Cantor is -- CEO of Westinghouse thanks so much for your -- there. Thank you --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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