The civil nuclear industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the UK. Proposed reactor designs undergo a thorough and rigorous assessment by UK regulators before construction can begin. Hitachi-GE has submitted the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor for Generic Design Assessment – a significant stage of the licensing process for our developments at Wylfa and Oldbury.
One of the world’s most common types of nuclear power generating technology, boiling water reactors provide a reliable form of electricity production. They are characterised by a system in which steam generated inside the reactor is directly passed to the turbine, simplifying the process of energy production.
Since the introduction of boiling water reactor technology, Hitachi has participated in the design, development and construction of over 20 nuclear power plants in Japan alone.
With enhanced reliability and safety features, Hitachi’s ‘Generation III+’ Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) are the most advanced reactors in commercial operation in the world today.
To find out more about ABWR technology click here.
The approval process
No nuclear reactor can be constructed in the UK unless the regulators are completely satisfied that it can operate safely. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA), are in the final stage of a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the ABWR technology. This process will determine whether the regulators consider the technology appropriate to move to the site-specific licensing stage.
Although not currently licensed in the UK, ABWRs are already operational at four sites in Japan and are approved for use in the USA and Taiwan.
The GDA process takes a number of years to complete. However, as a proven international technology we are confident that UK ABWRs will be considered suitable for use in the UK. The UK ABWR is currently in the fourth and final stage of the GDA process and the application is due to be completed in 2017.
For more on the GDA process, click here.