UK announces prioritized GDA process

20 March 2008

The UK government has announced the start of an operator-led prioritization process to select no more than three nuclear reactor designs to proceed to the next stage of Generic Design Assessment (GDA). This is to allow the nuclear regulators to focus their resources on those designs which are most capable of being licensed and operational in the UK within a 2016-2022 timeframe. The nuclear regulators, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), recently announced the findings from the first step of GDA carried out on the four eligible designs submitted. They found no shortfalls at this stage - in terms of safety, security or the environment - that would prevent any of them from ultimately being constructed on licensed sites in the UK. The next steps of GDA encompass the majority of the detailed assessment work on the designs and is expected to run until 2011. As all four designs - from AECL, Areva, GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse - are eligible for next step of GDA, the Department for Business and Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has started a process to recommend to the regulators which three designs should proceed to the later stages of GDA. BERR has invited 'credible nuclear power operators' to nominate a maximum of three designs they wish to support in the later steps of GDA, and to rank the designs according to their preference for deployment by 9 April.