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Regulators begin second phase of assessment of new reactor

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency announced today that they are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of a new nuclear reactor design for the UK.

The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR) is proposed to be used in new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire. The assessment follows nine months of preparatory work by the reactor designer, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, and the regulators.

This scrutiny, known as Generic Design Assessment (GDA), allows the regulators to begin assessing the safety, security, environmental and waste implications of new reactor designs before site-specific proposals are brought forward.

In addition, Hitachi-GE will be launching its GDA comments process, which enables anyone to submit comments and questions to the company for their response.

Mark Foy, ONR Deputy Chief Inspector, said:

“The GDA process enables ONR to undertake a pre-assessment of the safety and security aspects of a reactor design to determine its suitability for use in the UK. I am satisfied that we are ready to begin Step 2 of the Generic Design Assessment and that there are adequate project management, technical and legal provisions in place to ensure this is completed in a timely manner to meet UK Government and wider stakeholder expectations”.

Ian Parker, Environment Agency Nuclear Regulation Group Manager said:

“GDA allows regulators and reactor designers to identify and resolve issues early. It is an effective and efficient approach helping to ensure that any new reactors that are built in the UK meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management.”

“I am pleased that we have completed the preparatory step of GDA and are now able to begin assessing the UK ABWR. Hitachi-GE will continue to provide further and updated information during GDA. Subject to the company providing acceptable and timely submissions to us, we should be able to complete GDA in around four years.”

Natural Resources Wales is also involved in the GDA process with the other two regulators and will be leading on engagement with people in Wales.

Iwan Williams from Natural Resources Wales said:

“While the GDA process is generic for England and Wales, it will also underpin the assessments we will need to make for the proposed development at Wylfa Newydd. All of the agencies involved in this process will be working closely together over the next few years.”

Image courtesy of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd.