Posted by Stephen Tindale

Hitachi-GE’s improvement on the Boiling Water Reactor has progressed to the final stage of the UKs regulatory process. The office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) announced the completion of Step 3 of the Generic Design Assessment on 30 October, with the whole assessment scheduled to finish in 2017.

Step three focuses on the safety and security of the ABWR and requires Hitachi GE to present arguments and evidence to support their safety and security claims. The assessment is designed to be extremely rigorous and continues to assess the safety of every aspect of the design throughout its process.

The fourth and final phase of the process includes a detailed assessment of the design as well is further scrutiny of the safety and security. The environmental impact of the reactor will also be assessed, with a consultation with the Environment Agency (EA) and National Resources Wales (NRW).

A completed Generic Design Assessment must be coupled with a nuclear site license and regulatory approval for the construction of the reactor before a new nuclear power station can be built. Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, plans to build two ABWR is in the UK; in Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire.

This milestone in the regulatory process for an updated reactor design is a step in the right direction for building new and improved nuclear power reactors in the UK, and possibly paves the way for the next generation of advanced reactors to follow in the ABWR’s footsteps.


  1. Charles Barton says:

    It is unfortunate the ABWR is still the most advanced BWR on the market right now. The ESBWR has been in the pre conceptual phase for at least 8 years, and had iGE/Hitachi taken it seriously as a product, it would be on the market now. It is still several years away from NRC licensing, and by that time MSRs will be nearing marketability, which will make LWRs a loosing proposition. The very attractive ESBWR is simply a day late, and several billion dollars short.

  2. Mark Pawelek says:

    ABWR will, mostly likely, be the least expensive water moderated reactor available to us after it completes its GDA. I’m told the UK GDA process is throttled to 2 designs at a time, so the next reactor (whatever it is) can’t start assessment till after the AP1000 competes in early 2017.

  3. M Hughes says:

    ESBWR has been certified in the US in 2014:

    The newer more passively safe ESBWR design was previously submitted to the UK ONR (NII) GDA process, but then withdrawn in 2009.

    Therefore the very old ABWR design (Designed 1980s, first Japanese one started construction 1992, but hardly any operational experience) is for some reason the design being put forward in the UK by GE/Hitachi – even though it is Generation 3 and needs active safety systems like the BWRs of Fukishima.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our Weinberg Next Nuclear Newsletter
* = required field

The Alvin Weinberg Foundation’s work has helped us to understand the potential benefits of thorium and next generation nuclear reactors, such as the Molten Salt Reactor.

— All-Party Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy


Our latest blog on the nuclear report from the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Lords. We need...
- Wednesday May 3 - 2:36pm

Recent Posts

Three Mile Island – the real disaster

by Suzanna Hinson (June 2nd, 2017)

Nuclear in Africa

by Suzanna Hinson (May 16th, 2017)

Engineers echo politicians: SMRs could help the UK post-Brexit

by Suzanna Hinson (May 11th, 2017)

Breaking the cycle of indecision: nuclear report by the House of Lords

by Suzanna Hinson (May 3rd, 2017)

Posts Archive


  • Economics (89)
  • Efficiency (54)
  • Policy (17)
  • Proliferation (32)
  • Regulation (8)
  • Safety (63)
  • Security (18)
  • Technology advances (23)
  • Uncategorized (53)
  • Waste (52)
  • © The Alvin Weinberg Foundation 2014
    The Alvin Weinberg Foundation is a registered UK charity. Charity number: 1155255
    The Alvin Weinberg Foundation web site uses cookies to record visitor patterns.
    Read our data protection policy

    Design by Tauri-tec Ltd and the Alvin Weinberg Foundation