News story

Hitachi nuclear reactor design to be assessed

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Designs for nuclear reactors planned for Anglesey and Gloucester must pass safety assessment stage.

Plans from Japanese firm Hitachi to build up to 6 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.

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

A Generic Design Assessment will now be carried out on the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, which is the only Generation III+ reactor which has been in operation anywhere in the world, with 4 in Japan, and 3 others under construction in Japan and Taiwan.

John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, said:

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

David Jones, Secretary of State for Wales, said:

This is an important step forward for the Horizon Nuclear Power project and demonstrates the UK’s commitment to Hitachi and the building of new nuclear reactors.

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 Generic Design Assessment stage has moved forward so quickly.

Notes for editors

  • For more information about the Generic Design Assessment for new nuclear reactors, please visit the HSE website[External link].
  • Generic Design Assessment is the process being used by the nuclear regulators (the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency) to assess the new nuclear power station designs. It allows the regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs, separately from applications to build them at specific sites.
  • In December 2012, UK regulators confirmed acceptance of EDF and AREVA’s EPR reactor design following an assessment of its generic design. See the HSE website[External link]for more information.