Environment Agency Assesses New Nuclear Power Plant Designs

The Environment Agency has been assessing new nuclear power plant designs. You can find out about their assessment from the email below and the links shown at the end of it.

I am emailing to inform you about our decisions following our consultation last year on our assessment of new nuclear power plant designs (known as ‘Generic Design Assessment’ or ‘GDA’).

We have carefully considered all the responses received from our consultation, together with the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR) safety and security assessments, before coming to our decisions.

You will be aware that following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in March and the consequent events at Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, we and ONR decided to extend our GDA work to allow us to take account of HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations’ report on the implications of the events for the UK.

The Chief Inspector’s report was issued in October and we have been reviewing the reactor designers’ “resolution plans” that set out how they intend to address relevant recommendations of the report. We consider that these plans are acceptable and we have now made decisions about the generic acceptability of Westinghouse’s AP1000® and EDF and AREVA’s UK EPR™ nuclear plant designs for construction and operation in England and Wales.

In summary, we are content that the environmental aspects of both designs would meet the high standards that we expect and we are issuing an Environment Agency interim Statement of Design Acceptability (iSoDA) for each design. The statement is “interim” at this stage because we expect the design documents to be updated, both as a result of further work to address outstanding issues identified in ONR’s assessment, and ongoing work by both reactor designers to address the recommendations from the HM Chief Inspector’s review.

We will use our GDA work to help inform our decisions on any site-specific applications we receive for new nuclear power stations. Developers must obtain all relevant site-specific permissions from us and other regulators and bodies before a new nuclear power station could be operated. We have received a number of applications for environmental permits for NNB Generation Company’s proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

You can see our GDA decision documents setting out our views at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/nuclear/gda or phone us on 03708 506 506 * (Mon-Fri 8-6) or e mail us at GDA@environment-agency.gov.uk to request a copy. We have also produced summary documents of our decisions for both designs and these are also available in Welsh.

The ONR has also published its ‘GDA Step 4’ reports and these are available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors/index.htm

Further information about our work on GDA can be found in the Environment Agency/ONR joint eBulletin at http://www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors/ebulletin.htm

Yours sincerely

Ian Streatfield
GDA Manager

National Customer Contact Centre: 03708 506 506 *

*Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calls to standard geographic numbers (ie numbers beginning with 01 or 02).