French nuclear company Areva has announced completion of the third phase of the Design Certification Application review for the US version of its EPR, a significant step toward the final design certification ruling by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Phase Three represents completion of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) review of the safety evaluation report, but with some items left open, Areva said. Final design certification, which had previously been targeted for June 2013, is now scheduled for the end of 2014. The new review schedule, set by NRC in May, allows Areva to respond to outstanding technical issues and to provide additional information related to new post-Fukushima requirements. Areva said in a June statement that the new schedule is ‘in alignment with the development plans of its US customers.’

Four COL applications referencing the EPR have already been submitted to the NRC: Bell Bend, Callaway, Calvert Cliffs 3, and Nine Mile Point 3. “Reaching this milestone is a significant accomplishment and validates our commitment to complete the US EPR Design Certification process,” said Tom Franch, AREVA Inc. senior vice president of Reactors and Services. “We worked closely with the NRC and with our utility partners to reach this milestone, and we look forward to a successful completion, enabling our customers to proceed at a pace conducive to their business models.”