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New GDA guidance for Requesting Parties

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have published new Generic Design Assessment (GDA) Guidance for Requesting Parties.

The guidance will be used for all future GDA work. It reflects the changes seen in the nuclear industry in the decade since GDA was introduced, in particular the Nuclear Sector Deal and the potential for Small Modular Reactor (SMR) designs to enter GDA in the future. The new guidance also incorporates lessons learnt from previous GDAs.

A number of updates have been made to further enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility of the GDA process, whilst maintaining the high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management it requires.  It also maintains robustness and independence in regulatory decision making.

The GDA process was developed in response to the Government’s 2006 Energy Review. It enables the regulators to assess the acceptability of new reactor designs up front in advance of specific proposed developments or at their early stages. This helps to avoid time and cost risks arising from modifications during construction and improves potential investors’ confidence.

The first design assessment started in 2007. Two designs, the EDF Energy and AREVA UK EPR™ and the Westinghouse AP1000® designs, completed GDA in 2012 and 2017 respectively. In 2013, the Hitachi-GE UK ABWR entered the GDA process and this was completed in 2017.

The current GDA process and existing guidance will remain applicable to the ongoing GDA for the CGN/EDF/GNI UK’s UK HPR1000, having started in 2017.