PLANS by Japanese firm Hitachi to build up to six new nuclear reactors in the UK have moved forward with Ministers asking organisations to assess the design.
Hitachi recently acquired Horizon Nuclear Power and plans to develop nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
A Generic Design Assessment (GDA) will now be carried out on the advanced boiling water reactor (AWBR), which is the only Generation III+ reactor that has been in operation anywhere in the world. There are four in Japan and three others under construction in Japan and Taiwan.
Energy minister John Hayes said: “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 to assess new nuclear power station designs. It allows the regulators to examine the safety, security and environmental implications 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.