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Nuclear reactor designs win interim acceptance ...
Generic designs for two nuclear reactors proposed for construction in the UK have been granted interim acceptance by the nuclear safety, security and environment regulators. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (within the Health and safety Executive) and the Environment Agency have confirmed they are satisfied with how the designers of both EDF and Areva’s UK EPR, and Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors, plan to resolve a number of remaining issues.
However, neither reactor can be built in the UK until these issues are resolved.
For both designs, the Office for Nuclear Regulation has issued interim Design Acceptance Confirmations (iDAC) and the Environment Agency has issued interim Statements of Design Acceptability (iSoDA).
Kevin Allars, Office for Nuclear Regulation director for nuclear new build, said: ‘We have reached an important milestone. This interim acceptance confirms that all the plans on how the industry will resolve the outstanding issues are in place. This includes how they will address matters raised in the chief nuclear inspector’s report, published in October, on lessons learnt for the UK from Fukushima.’
Gaining approval for the generic designs is one part of a larger requirement placed on the designers and prospective operators of new power plants before any reactors can be built, says the Office for Nuclear Regulation. Any prospective operator of a new power station also needs to be granted a nuclear site licence by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and environmental permits from the Environment Agency.
Prospect, the largest trade union in the UK nuclear industry, welcomed the announcement. Deputy General Secretary Mike Clancy said: ‘This is a major stepping stone in a process that will ultimately provide thousands of high-value, highly skilled jobs both within the construction industry, and for operating staff at sites across the country who will be tasked with running the new plants for the next 60 to 70 years.’
Meanwhile, the government has set out statutory guidance for new nuclear operators to produce plans for funding the decommissioning of their power stations and managing their radioactive waste. This will enable new nuclear operators to come forward with clear plans to deal with decommissioning and radioactive waste management for approval. The guidance sets out that:
operators must have insolvency-proof funds set aside for nuclear clean-up from day one of nuclear operation;
operators must have a realistic, clearly-defined, and achievable plan for the decommissioning of any site, with a robust estimate of costs; and
funds set aside for clean up must be administered independently of the operator and the government.
Impression of the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor
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