Hitachi nuclear reactor enters final UK approval stage

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has completed Step 3 of the Generic Design Assessment of Hitachi-GE’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor nuclear power station design.

The third phase of GDA looks at the safety and security justifications presented by Hitachi-GE to underpin the safety and security claims, with ONR concluding that satisfactory progress has been made by Hitachi-GE to move into the final assessment stage, which Hitachi-GE expects to complete in December 2017.

“We are now ready to start the fourth and final step of the assessment process,” said Jane Bowie, ONR’s head of GDA. “There is still a lot of work to be undertaken by Hitachi-GE, and they will have to maintain high quality, on-time delivery to achieve their target DAC [Design Acceptance Confirmation] date of December 2017.”

For ONR, the assessment process will now move into its final stage. The next milestone in the GDA process will be the start of the Environment Agency’s and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) consultation on the environmental part of the assessment, which is planned to start in October 2016.

Once the overall assessment is complete, ONR, the Environment Agency and NRW, will use the work to help inform any subsequent assessments for site specific proposals that use this reactor design, such as Horizon Nuclear Power’s proposed developments at Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

Ken Sato, general manager, licensing, Hitachi Europe Ltd. for Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, said: “Progression to Step 4 in around two and a half years is a sign of the strong progress we have made.

“We are delighted that ONR has progressed to their final step, and that we are on schedule to complete GDA by the end of 2017.

“GDA is rightly a thorough and rigorous assessment – challenging scrutiny from the regulators is to be expected and welcomed. This will continue through Step 4, and we remain focused on providing detailed submissions, and addressing the regulators’ questions.”