NRC report calls new wave of reactors safer

ATLANTA (AP) -- A taskforce examining the lessons learned from a nuclear accident in Japan says that a reactor proposed for use in the South would be safer than existing models in some accident scenarios.

The report Wednesday from a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission task force says that Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's ESBWR have emergency cooling systems that could run for 72 hours. Those cooling systems are powered by natural forces such as gravity and convection that do not require electrical power.

Westinghouse has contracts to build its AP1000 reactors in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

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The task force was examining a March 11 earthquake off Japan that triggered a tsunami. The wave disabled electricity-driven emergency cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, leading to meltdowns.

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