The UK’s joint nuclear regulators have announced that they are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of a new nuclear reactor design that could be built at two sites in the UK.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency said in a statement they have begun assessing Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), which Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi, is planning to use at two nuclear sites, Wylfa in north Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
The assessment follows nine months of preparatory work by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy and the regulators, the statement said.
This assessment, 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.
According to today’s statement, the process is likely to take around four years.
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.
The regulators said they have been working with Hitachi-GE to make sure the company understands the UK regulatory system and the regulators’ expectations. The regulators have also been increasing their knowledge of Hitachi-GE’s proposals.
Generation III+ ABWRs are already operational at four sites in Japan and are approved for use in the US and Taiwan.
Horizon Nuclear Power was formed in 2009 to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK. It was acquired by Hitachi in November 2012.
The regulators’ GDA website includes links to Hitachi-GE’s website and its comments process