UK HPR1000 moves to final design assessment stage

13 February 2020

The UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency have completed Step 3 - "overall design, safety case and security arguments review" - in their scrutiny of the UK HPR1000 reactor design. They will now start the fourth and final stage in the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process - "detailed design, safety case, and security evidence assessment".

UK HPR1000 generic design (Image: CGN)

The UK HPR1000 is the Hualong One design that General Nuclear Services - a subsidiary of EDF and China General Nuclear - proposes to use at a prospective new nuclear power plant in Bradwell, England.

"The objective for GDA is to provide confidence that the proposed design is capable of being constructed, operated and decommissioned in accordance with the standards of safety, security and environmental protection required in Great Britain," Ana Gomez-Cobo, ONR’s head of UK HPR1000 regulation, said.

"Our assessment to date has not identified any fundamental safety or security shortfalls that would prevent us issuing a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) for the UK HPR1000 design. However, we have identified a number of areas for which further substantiation is needed from the Requesting Party; these have been captured as Regulatory Observations. Although progress so far is encouraging, a lot of work by the Requesting Party is still required. We will continue to rigorously assess safety and security submissions throughout Step 4 of GDA."

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 2017, the British government formally requested regulators start the process for the UK HPR1000. The regulators, who have said they aim to complete the GDA of the UK HPR1000 in late 2021, have published a report summarising their Step 3 assessment here.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News