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UK HPR1000 completes GDA Step 2

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) have today announced that they have completed an initial high level scrutiny of the UK HPR1000 reactor design.

Step 2 is the first assessment step of the regulators’ Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process for new nuclear power station designs proposed for the UK in which we assess the acceptability of safety, security and environment protection of the design. An initial preparatory step was completed in November 2017.

The regulators have not identified at this stage of the GDA process any fundamental safety, security or environmental issues that would prevent the issue of a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and a Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA).

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and EDF Energy, referred to as the requesting parties, through their joint venture company General Nuclear System Ltd (GNS), wrote to ONR and EA requesting entry to the GDA process in October 2016. The UK government requested that the regulators begin the GDA in January 2017, following confirmation of GNS and the regulators’ readiness to commence the process.

The GDA has a number of steps, with the technical assessment becoming increasingly detailed as they progress. ONR and EA publish reports at the end of each step which provide an update on the assessment and highlight any concerns or technical issues that have been raised.

The regulators’ assessments have been documented in a series of reports that have been published on the joint regulators’ GDA website.

ONR’s conclusions, based on the information examined so far, include:

  • Overall, the interactions with GNS throughout Step 2 of GDA have been constructive. GNS have worked consistently hard to ensure that UK regulatory expectations will be met
  • We have seen strong commitment from GNS to learn lessons from Steps 1 and 2 of the GDA and to improve their working arrangements
  • GNS and ONR have completed the preparatory work necessary to enable commencement of Step 3 of GDA
  • There is still a considerable amount of work that will need to be undertaken by GNS going forward in the GDA process, requiring significant resource across all of the topic areas for GNS

EA’s conclusions, based on the information examined so far, include:

  • GNS has an appropriate management system in place to control the content and accuracy of the information it provides for GDA
  • The annual impact of radiation from the UK HPR1000 on people is likely to be below the UK public radiological dose limit and the constraint for any new source
  • The submission made by GNS for step 2 assessment does not contain enough information for us to carry out a detailed assessment

Following the completion of this initial high-level technical assessment, the process will now move on to its next more detailed design assessment stage.

At the regulators’ request, GNS set up a comments process that enables people to see and comment on the submissions made to the regulators.  GNS responds to relevant comments and questions that it receives. The regulators also see the comments and questions submitted, as well as the responses provided and use these to help inform their work. The comments process is open throughout the GDA until about four months before the end of the assessment.