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UK regulators to assess Hitachi ABWR nuclear reactor design

15 January 2013

Plans from Japanese firm Hitachi to build up to six new nuclear reactors in the UK progressed today as Ministers asked the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to assess the design of their reactor. Hitachi recently acquired Horizon Nuclear Power and plans to develop new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

The Generic Design Assessment will assess the safety and suitability of Hitachi's  Advanced Boiling Water Reactor for UK operations
The Generic Design Assessment will assess the safety and suitability of Hitachi's Advanced Boiling Water Reactor for UK operations

A Generic Design Assessment (GDA) will now be carried out on the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, the only Generation III + reactor which has been in operation anywhere in the world, with four ABWRs in Japan, and three others under construction in Japan and Taiwan.

John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, said: “New nuclear has a central role to play in our energy future, delivering secure, low carbon power and supporting jobs and economic growth. Hitachi’s commitment to the UK is extremely welcome, and I am determined that we work closely with the company to deliver their planned investment.

“We must however be absolutely sure that any reactor used in this country meets our rigorous safety standards. That’s why I’m asking the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to conduct a thorough examination of the reactor design proposed for the Wylfa and Oldbury sites.”

Generic Design Assessment is the process being used by the nuclear regulators (ONR and the Environment Agency) to assess the new nuclear power station designs. It allows the regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs, separately from applications to build them at specific sites.

In December 2012, UK regulators confirmed acceptance of EDF and AREVA’s EPR reactor design following an assessment of its generic design. EDF is planning to build nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk.


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