Two of the drivers of plant construction costs are the cost of financing during the construction phase and the substantial amount of skilled-craft-labor hours needed on site during construction. The AP1000® technique of modularization of plant construction mitigates both of these drivers.

Overnight construction costs
The AP1000 was designed to reduce capital costs and to be economically competitive with contemporary fossil-fueled plants. The amount of safety-grade equipment required is greatly reduced by using the passive safety system design. Consequently, less Seismic Category I building volume is required to house the safety equipment (approximately 45 percent less than a typical reactor). Modular construction design further reduces cost and shortens the construction schedule. Using advanced computer modeling capabilities, Westinghouse is able to optimize, choreograph and simulate the construction plan. The result is very high confidence in the construction schedule.

Simplified plant arrangement
With a smaller footprint than an existing nuclear power plant with the same generating capability, the AP1000 plant arrangement provides separation between safety-related and non-safety related systems. The plant is arranged with the following principal structures, each on its own base mat:
  • Nuclear Island (the only Seismic Category I structure)
  • Turbine Building
  • Annex Building
  • Diesel Generator Building
  • Radwaste Building

Nuclear Island
The volume of these seismic buildings is much smaller than those in previous nuclear power plant designs. This provides a large capital cost savings since seismic structures cost roughly three times as much as non-seismic structures. The nuclear island is designed to withstand the effects of postulated internal events such as fires and flooding without loss of capability to perform safety functions.

Non-Seismic Class 1 Buildings
The non-seismic buildings include the annex, turbine diesel generator and radwaste buildings, and contain no safety-related equipment. They are designed for wind and seismic loads in accordance with the Uniform Building Code.

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