EU law requires that before any new nuclear power station is built, their designs must be 'Justified'. This involves a generic assessment to determine whether the overall benefit of the practice of ionising radiation outweighs any associated health detriment.
Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Mike O'Brien said: "This Justification process is yet another example of the facilitative actions the government is taking to support new nuclear power in the UK. At the same time it gives people the opportunity to have their say on the benefits and detriments of the practices involved."
"Justification is just one step on the way to new nuclear. There will be many more opportunities for the public to have their say along the road, such as siting and planning applications."
The consultation begins following an application from the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) for 'Justification'.
Four designs have already been submitted - only one or possibly two designs are likely to be built:
Areva/EDF UK European Pressurised Reactor
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited ACR-1000
GE-Hitachi Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor
Westinghouse AP1000 pressurised water reactor