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Consultation on nuclear power station design

Wylfa Newydd Nuclear power station

The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales are consulting on their assessment of a new nuclear power station design from Hitachi-GE.

The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales said they were working closely with the Office for Nuclear Regulation to assess the acceptability of new nuclear power station designs in a process called generic design assessment (GDA).

The bodies said that this process will help to ensure that any new nuclear power stations built in the UK will meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management. They said it will also help enable developers to avoid potential cost and time delays during construction arising from late identification of modifications to meet UK requirements.

The consultation will look at Hitachi-GE’s UK advanced boiling water reactor (UK ABWR) design, which the company submitted for assessment in April 2014.

Horizon Nuclear Power has proposed to build and operate this design at Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales said that they had found that the majority of the environmental aspects of the design would be acceptable and included a draft “interim statement of design acceptability” (iSoDA) with the consultation documents.

However, at this stage of the detailed assessment they said that they had also identified some areas where more work was required to resolve ongoing issues before they would consider issuing a full statement of design acceptability (SoDA) for Hitachi-GE’s UK ABWR.

The regulator said that it was confident that the issues were capable of being resolved to its satisfaction by Hitachi-GE within its existing target timescale of completing GDA by December 2017.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 3 March 2017.

“It is our job to ensure that any new nuclear power station will meet high standards of environmental protection and waste management,” said Environment Agency GDA manager Saffron Price Walter.

“This consultation sets out our findings so far and identifies where we require further work to be carried out by Hitachi-GE. After consultation, we’ll carefully consider all the consultation responses we receive, complete our detailed assessment and make our decision about the acceptability of the UK ABWR design.”

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