EDF and Areva get nuclear reactor plans approved

Posted on 13 Dec 2012

The UK EPR nuclear reactor is suitable for construction in the UK, the main regulators have confirmed.

Statements issued today by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency say the nuclear reactor designed by EDF Energy and Areva meets regulatory approval, setting a course for the construction of the reactor.

The regulatory approvals meet requirements for safety, security and environmental impact.

Completion of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process was the second of two big regulatory approvals EDF and minority partner Centrica needed before they can take the final investment decision on the £14 billion project. EDF has said it hopes to confirm the investment by the end of the year.

“This certification recognises that the EPR design meets the UK’s stringent safety requirements as assessed by the joint regulators,” EDF Energy said in a statement.

“It has been demonstrated that the design is robust even when challenged by extreme events such as those seen following the Fukushima incident in 2011,” the company said.

EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said “It represents four years of hard work and allows our project to have a stable design before we start, offering a huge boost for the predictability of costs.”

“It highlights our credibility and that of the EPR design, as well as demonstrating that the UK has a credible policy and regulatory framework in place.”

The reactor design assessment GDA has taken four years to complete. Now, further site-specific consents and approvals are still required from the regulators before this type of reactor can be built in Britain.

The EDF and Areva reactor would be built on a site in Hinckley Point in Somerset, providing it meets such requirements.

Colin Patchett, acting chief inspector of nuclear installations at the Office for Nuclear Regulation, said: ‘It is a significant step and ensures that this reactor meets the high standards that we insist upon.