"Answers are needed before the NRC can go forward with the AP1000 reactors in the Southeast," Gunderson said.
There is still no deadline for when the NRC will approve the Westinghouse design. The company the AP1000 to be "the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available in the worldwide commercial marketplace."
"Westinghouse disputes every conclusion put forth at the [AP1000 Oversight Group] press conference, although we are not surprised that an anti-nuclear group with an anti-nuclear bias would make such statements," Vaughn Gilbert, a spokesperson for Westinghouse, told SolveClimate by email.
"The entire design of the AP1000 has been peer reviewed by well respected universities, regulators, independent experts, our customers and others," Vaughn added. "Was the report issued by the anti nuclear group earlier peer reviewed at all?"
Vaughn said the containment vessel is built to American Society of Mechanical Engineers proven pressure vessel codes.
"The steel in question is 1.75 inches thick, manufactured and coated to preclude corrosion. In the highly unlikely event of corrosion, it would be readily identified and corrected during regular inspections well before it could in any way become an issue," Vaughn added.
This week's protest underlines the uphill battle that nuclear power advocates face in bringing about the trumpeted nuclear renaissance — and not just in the United States.
In February, the UK's nuclear watchdog voiced concerns with Westinghouse that the AP1000 may not be able to withstand severe weather or a direct airplane hit.
Meanwhile, China as adopted the AP1000 as its reactor-of-choice for its coming nuclear boom. Four are already under construction there, with up to 100 more being planned to come online in the next two decades.