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Regulators approve new nuclear power station design

The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), designed by Hitachi-GE, is suitable for construction in the UK, the regulators confirmed following completion of an in-depth assessment of the nuclear reactor design.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the  Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales, the regulators who undertake the Generic Design Assessment of new reactor designs, are satisfied that this reactor meets regulatory expectations on safety, security and environmental protection at this stage of the regulatory process.

ONR has issued a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and the environment agencies have issued a Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA) to Hitachi-GE.

Horizon Nuclear Power is proposing to build and operate two of these reactors in Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn near Thornbury in South Gloucestershire.

Mark Foy, ONR’s Chief Nuclear Inspector said:

“The completion of the generic design assessment of the UK ABWR is a significant step in our regulation of the overall process to construct this type of reactor in the UK, ensuring that the generic design meets the highest standards of safety that we expect in this country. We’re already working on our assessment of Horizon’s site licence application and on the development of the site specific safety case to progress, in due course, the construction and operation of these reactors at Wylfa Newydd.”

Dr Jo Nettleton, Deputy Director for Radioactive Substances and Installations Regulation at the Environment Agency said:

"We’ve concluded that the generic design of the UK ABWR should be capable of meeting the high standards of environment protection and waste management that we require in the UK. We only came to this conclusion after carefully reviewing the submissions provided by Hitachi-GE and their responses to the questions and issues we raised. We’ve also carefully considered all the comments we received from people during our public consultation and we’re grateful for all who took part for taking time to respond."

Tim Jones, Natural Resources Wales’s Executive Director for North and Mid Wales, said:
“It is our job to ensure that any new nuclear power station will meet high standards of environmental protection and waste management, ensuring that our communities and environment are kept safe.
“Following a public consultation on our initial findings, we have concluded that the UK ABWR design is acceptable. We will now work on the detailed assessments of the permits, licences and consents that Horizon Nuclear Power will need to have in place to build Wylfa Newydd.”

The regulators have documented progress of each stage of their assessment through a series of reports on its joint website.

Homepage image - Hidetoshi Takehara, Hitachi-GE; Mark Foy, ONR; Stephen Hardy, Environment Agency;  and Tim Jones, NRW.