Four types of nuclear reactor have been accepted by Government for the first phase of its approval programme for future power construction. No proposals were rejected.
The contenders are from AECL, Arriva, GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse. Their proposals were submitted for generic pre-licensing, allowing generating companies to use these types of design if they get through planning inquiries.Design principles and the safety case for each will be examined in the initial stage. But more stringent criteria will be applied in the second phase.It is likely only three of the designs will go through for full second stage assessment because of resource constraints said the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform which is running the assessment.Criteria for that decision will be published shortly.The Department is carrying out the assessments on a contingent basis.It emphasises that final approvals will be subject to the outcome of general consultation on nuclear power, being re-considered in the light of climate change and energy security.A decision may be some time but because of the lengthy procedures needed to assess nuclear designs, it believes it prudent to begin work on this now. Applications were invited in May. The design assessments will done by the Joint Programme Office. The JPO is made up from the Office for Civil Nuclear Security, the NuclearInstallations Inspectorate and the Environment Agency.