Skip to content

ONR publishes key considerations for applying blockchain technology in the nuclear sector

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has published a report exploring the potential innovative use of blockchain data technology in the nuclear sector.

The report details how ONR engaged with a site licensee and an organisation within their supply chain to explore regulatory issues around the application of blockchain in a manner that is consistent with safety, security and safeguards expectations.

Blockchain has the potential to help improve transparency, efficiency and decision-making within the nuclear industry.

In line with its commitment to regulating new approaches, ONR has developed an innovation hub to enable the adoption of innovative solutions in the nuclear sector where doing so is in the interest of society.

The innovation hub’s role includes providing advice to licensees, dutyholders and requesting parties for new reactors, as well as their supply chains.

Blockchain is an example of this type of innovation – a form of distributed ledger technology that stores, synchronises and maintains digital records across a network of computing centres.

It works by packing digital records into data container structures known as ‘blocks’, which are appended to the end of a chain of other blocks in chronological order, with each containing a link to the one preceding.

This establishes and maintains a clear chronology, which allows users to immediately identify when a record has been interfered with or changed. This has benefits for security as well as keeping records accurate, complete and consistent.

The new report also explores whether any existing regulatory approach could be applied to the use of this technology, or whether ONR should develop new guidance.

ONR’s regulatory considerations for the use of blockchain include risk management, system development, information management, interfaces with legacy systems, security and risk reduction through a phased approach.

The report, ‘Key regulatory considerations for the application of blockchain technology in the nuclear sector’, is available to read or download via the ONR website, along with further information on ONR’s approach to regulating innovation.

Please note: this report should not be regarded as official ONR guidance and further work will be necessary to comprehensively identify the challenges and opportunities associated with applying blockchain technology in the nuclear industry. ONR recommends that organisations use this report to guide initial explorations of how they could apply this technology while fulfilling regulatory expectations, and welcomes any feedback to inform the future development of relevant guidance via