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Hitachi nuclear reactor procedes along UK regulatory pathway

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of a new nuclear reactor design for Britain. 

The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR) is proposed for use in new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) follows nine months of preparatory work by the reactor designer, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, and regulators.

The ongoing 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.

In addition, Hitachi-GE will be launching its GDA comments process, enabling anyone to submit comments and questions to the company for their response.

In a statement Mark Foy, ONR deputy chief inspector, said: ‘I am satisfied that we are ready to begin Step 2 of the Generic Design Assessment and that there are adequate project management, technical and legal provisions in place to ensure this is completed in a timely manner to meet UK government and wider stakeholder expectations.’

Ian Parker, Environment Agency Nuclear Regulation group manager said: ‘Subject to the company [Hitachi-GE] providing acceptable and timely submissions to us, we should be able to complete GDA in around four years.’

According to Hitachi-GE the ABWR is operational at four sites in Japan: two at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa; one at Hamaoka and one at Shika. There are a further four in construction with two at Lungmen in Taiwan, and one at Shimane and Ohma in Japan.

At full power, a single ABWR reactor produces around 1350MWe of electricity.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Of far greater importance to UK manufacturing would be the DECC's decision to go for the GE Hitachi PRISM reactor, to dispose of our plutonium stockpile.

    The UK could lead the way in power generation from a Gen IV reactor. It operates at atmospheric pressure and is made from conventional (nuclear) stainless steel - we can manufacture them in their entirety.

    Let's get away from yesterday's nuclear technology, with a Gen IV, intrinsically-safe, closed fuel cycle reactor of tomorrow.

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