Rolls-Royce SMR to begin regulatory assessment

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Rolls-Royce SMR has announced that its nuclear power plant design is entering the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process with regulators.

UK SMR consortium
Image: Rolls-Royce SMR

The announcement is the most significant step yet in securing consent for the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design to operate in the UK. It follows successful completion of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s initial screening process.

The project’s regulators are the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

“Entering the GDA assessment process is another major milestone as we head at pace towards our goal of deploying a fleet of SMRs which will produce affordable, low carbon electricity — helping meet future energy demands and reach our net zero targets,” said Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR CEO.

“The UK regulatory process is internationally recognised and respected. We welcome the scrutiny and challenge that goes into the assessment of our nuclear power plant design.”

Helena Perry, regulatory and safety affairs director added that Rolls-Royce SMR has a dedicated team with previous experience in GDA, licensing and permitting.

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“We have a collaborative relationship with the UK regulators and are using all our experience and learning to move at pace through the GDA process,” she said.

The 470MW SMR draws on Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) technology used globally, but the company's approach will see the reactor components built in factory conditions and assembled on site.

In response to the announcement, a Nuclear Industry Association spokesperson commented: “This is a vital step forward for British nuclear technology. The UK needs the Rolls-Royce SMR to strengthen our energy security and cut our dependence on gas as we move toward Net Zero.

“The SMR can also play an essential role in enhancing British industrial capability, creating tens of thousands of jobs, revitalising the nuclear skills base and boosting the green economic recovery.”