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.

Comments

  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:

    https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/10/15/2014-24362/economic-simplified-boiling-water-reactor-design-certification

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/design-cert/esbwr.html

    The newer more passively safe ESBWR design was previously submitted to the UK ONR (NII) GDA process, but then withdrawn in 2009.

    http://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsinterview-we-will-be-back-in-europe-says-ge

    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.

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