The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued final safety evaluation report and a standard design approval (SDA) for South Korea’s Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400).

Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) submitted a design certification application for the APR1400 in December 2014. Issuance of the SDA means that the NRC’s staff has completed a technical review of the design, following standards for review, but it does not “constitute a commitment to issue a permit, design certification, or licence in any way”, NRC said.

The APR1400, a two-loop pressurised water reactor (PWR), evolved from the OPR1000 Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant design and Combustion Engineering’s (now Westinghouse’s) System 80+ design. KHNP said the evolution from the OPR1000 took just ten years and cost KRW234.6 billion ($193 million) to develop. KHNP added that the APR1400 had been developed to meet 43 basic design requirements, such as 4,000MW-rated thermal power, a 60-year lifetime, and lower probabilities of core damage and accidental radiation release than the country’s OPR1000 plants.

The first APR1400 began operation in January 2016 at Shin-Kori 3 in Korea after several years of delay. Three more units are under construction in South Korea and work on two more has been suspended. However, the first of four APR1400 reactors under construction at the Barakah NPP in the United Arab Emirates has been completed with operation now scheduled for 2020.