Regulators start technical assessment of UK HPR 1000

16 November 2017

The UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency announced today they are progressing to the next phase of their Generic Design Assessment of the UK HPR1000 reactor. This is the Hualong One design that General Nuclear Services (GNS) - a subsidiary of EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN) - proposes to use at a prospective new nuclear power plant in England.

HPR1000 cutaway - 460 (GNS)
A cut-away of the HPR1000 reactor design (Image: GNS)

The GDA process enables the regulators to begin assessing the safety, security and environmental aspects of new reactor designs before site-specific proposals are brought forward.

Mike Finnerty, ONR's deputy chief inspector and director of ONR’s New Reactors Division, said he was satisfied there were "adequate project management and technical provisions in place" to enter Step 2 of the process. This means the start of the technical assessment phase.

According to the UK HPR1000 website, the regulators concluded that the information submitted by GNS during Step 1 is sufficient to allow the start of Step 2. Step 2 formally commenced today and is planned to take about 12 months. The targeted timescale for the UK HPR1000 GDA process is about five years from the start of Step 1.

Under a strategic investment agreement signed in October last year, CGN agreed to take a 33.5% stake in EDF Energy's Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, as well as jointly develop new nuclear power plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. The Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C plants will be based on France's EPR reactor technology, while the new plant at Bradwell in Essex will feature the Hualong One design.

As part of that agreement, CGN agreed to form a joint venture company with EDF Energy to seek regulatory approval for a UK version of the Hualong One design.

The GDA is a voluntary process for reactor vendors - it is policy rather than law - but it is a government expectation for all new build projects in the UK. In January, the British government formally requested they start the process for the UK HPR1000.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News