UK assessment of AP1000 design advances

12 March 2015

The UK's generic design assessment (GDA) of the AP1000 reactor has entered the "closeout phase", Westinghouse announced today. The GDA process is scheduled to be completed in January 2017.

The UK regulators - the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) - began assessing Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor design in September 2007. They granted interim GDA approval in December 2011. At that time, Westinghouse requested a pause in the GDA process and signalled that it would not proceed to address GDA issues until the design had been selected for a project in the UK. 

"We've cleared an important hurdle in our efforts to bring a new generation of safe, clean, reliable electricity to serve the UK's energy needs."

Jeff Benjamin,

NuGeneration Limited (NuGen) - a 60%/40% joint venture between Toshiba and GDF Suez - confirmed plans last year to build three Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactors at Moorside by the end of 2026 with a total capacity of 3.4 GWe. The first unit is expected to begin operating by the end of 2024. A final investment decision is expected to be taken by the end of 2018.

In August 2014, Westinghouse recommenced GDA in order address the 51 outstanding GDA issues which must be resolved before ONR and EA would consider granting a design acceptance confirmation (DAC) and statement of design acceptability (SoDA).

Westinghouse today announced that the regulators and the company have begun the closeout phase of the GDA process for the AP1000 "with a review timeline that supports milestones for developing the three-unit Moorside project in northwest England."

In the next stage of the GDA process, Westinghouse will provide detailed technical information to address the remaining open issues in the design's assessment. Successful resolution of the open issues will result in the granting of DAC and SoDA. The target completion is January 2017, Westinghouse said.

Westinghouse senior vice president for new plants and major project Jeff Benjamin said, "The decision by the ONR and EA to advance the AP1000 plant review to the closeout phase is a very positive development." He added, "We've cleared an important hurdle in our efforts to bring a new generation of safe, clean, reliable electricity to serve the UK's energy needs."

"We look forward to successfully completing the GDA review and moving ahead with the Moorside project, learning from and building on our delivery experience from the eight AP1000 units currently under construction in the USA and China."

NuGen also welcomed the advancement of the AP1000 GDA process, describing it as "important news for us, and for the UK as a whole". A spokesman said, "The Moorside project in West Cumbria could be transformational for the region in terms of jobs and economic benefits, and of huge significance to the future of the UK in terms of the secure supply of low-carbon energy for future generations."

The GDA forms part of the approval process for new reactor projects in the UK, allowing regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs separately from applications to build them at specific sites.

Areva's EPR became the first reactor design to complete the GDA process and receive a Design Acceptance Confirmation and Statement of Design Acceptability in December 2012. A GDA is also currently ongoing for Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy's Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR).

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News