Ministers ask nuclear regulator to assess Hitachi reactor design

Posted on 15 Jan 2013

Hitachi’s plans to build up to six new nuclear reactors in the UK progressed today as ministers asked the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to assess the design of their reactor.

Japanese firm Hitachi recently acquired Horizon Nuclear Power and plans to develop new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

A Generic Design Assessment (GDA) will now be carried out on the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design proposed for the UK sites.

The ABWR design is the only Generation III + reactor which has been in operation anywhere in the world, with four ABWRs in Japan, and three others under construction in Japan and Taiwan.

“New nuclear has a central role to play in our energy future, delivering secure, low carbon power and supporting jobs and economic growth,” said energy minister John Hayes. “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.

Mr Hayes confirmed that the government must 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.”

David Jones, Secretary of State for Wales, acknowledged the application to assess the design was an important step forward for the Horizon Nuclear Power project. “It demonstrates the UK’s commitment to Hitachi and the building of new nuclear.

“I know that the students of Coleg Menai in North Wales who are working towards a career in the nuclear industry will be pleased that the GDA stage has moved forward so quickly.”

The statement will be another filip for the UK nuclear new build industry. More engineering companies are being approved as suitable to manufacture parts that comply with nuclear industry specifications, under the ‘Fit 4 Nuclear’ programme run by the Nuclear AMRC in Rotherham.

Nuclear manufacturing is a central theme of the Global Manufacturing Festival, being hosted in Sheffield from April 17 to 19.