Reactor design for proposed Oldbury plant to be assessed by nuclear regulators

NUCLEAR developer Hitachi’s plans to build a new power station in Oldbury are moving swiftly on with its reactor design set to be assessed by the government.

UK regulators confirmed today they were ready to begin an in-depth evaluation of the Japanese firm’s advanced boiling water reactor technology.

The process, known as a Generic Design Assessment, is used by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, to appraise the safety, security and environmental implications of any new reactor designs.

If the technology is deemed suitable, it will be rubber stamped with a Design Acceptance Confirmation and Statement of Design Acceptability.

Horizon Nuclear Power, the company formed to carry out the development project in Oldbury, along with another scheme at Wylfa in Anglesey in Wales, welcomed this "major step forward".

"Generic Design Assessment (GDA) is one of the key processes necessary to allow development of new nuclear power stations at Wylfa and Oldbury," chief operating officer Alan Raymant. "This is a major step forward at an early time in Hitachi’s ownership of Horizon."

He added: "GDA is a rigorous and demanding process that ensures the safety case for the technology is robust. We are committed to supporting Hitachi-GE and developing Horizon’s advanced boiling water reactor expertise throughout the process. "The advanced boiling water reactor is a proven technology which we believe will bring significant benefits to the UK."

Horizon Nuclear Power was put up for sale by its founders, E.ON and RWE npower, in March 2012 before being acquired by Hitachi in November.

Although eager to collaborate with Hitachi, Minister of State for Energy John Hayes said the government had to be absolutely certain the technology was safe before giving it the green light.

"Hitachi’s commitment to the UK is extremely welcome, and I am determined that we work closely with the company to deliver their planned investment.

"We must however be absolutely sure that any reactor used in this country meets our rigorous safety standards. That’s why I’m asking the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to conduct a thorough examination of the reactor design proposed for the Wylfa and Oldbury sites."

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