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Hitachi expects four years to approve its nuclear reactor

Japanese engineering firm Hitachi expects it will take four years to clear its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) through the UK licensing process, the firm said yesterday.

Hitachi wants to use its ABWR technology on sites in Wylfa in north Wales and Oldbury in Gloucester following its acquisition of new nuclear build firm Horizon last month.

Horizon head of communications Leon Flexman said Hitachi is expecting four years to clear reactor through the generic design assessment (GDA) – a four step licensing process excluding site specifics - beginning early 2013.

Nuclear engineering firms Areva and Westinghouse began the GDA process for their reactors – the European Pressurised Reactor and the AP1000 respectively – in 2008 with neither acheiveing full clearance yet.

Hitachi is buying Horizon Nuclear Power from current owners German energy giants RWE and Eon for a reported £700M, although the sale is due to go through until the end of the month.

The firm has already signed memorandum of understandings with UK engineering firms Rolls Royce and Babcock. Flexman said the firm hopes to place 60% of its orders in the UK and well as create a modularisation site.

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