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Hitachi starts UK nuclear reactor assessment

Ministers have asked the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency to assess Japanese engineering firm Hitachi’s nuclear reactor today.

Hitachi entered the UK market last year through buying nuclear new build firm Horizon and plans to construct its nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Anglesy and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

“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,” said energy minister John Hayes.

The firm’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) must be approved through the ONR’s generic design assessment - a four step licensing process excluding site specifics - before any major construction can begin.

Four ABWR’s are already in operation in Japan with a further three under construction in Japan and Taiwan.

But the GDA is quite a lengthy process with nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva only getting final sign off last month after an almost five year long process.

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