The latest quarterly report from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) shows mixed fortunes for the two remaining reactor types (the EPR already having been approved) moving towards their Design Acceptance Confirmations.
For Hitachi-GE’s ABWR, which is planned to be deployed by Horizon at Wylfa, the report is very positive noting the reactor has now entered step 4 of the process and while there is still a lot of work to do on the assessment the ONR remains confident of finishing the GDA December 2017.
However the ONR are much less confident in their assessment of Westinghouse’s AP1000, which is planned to be deployed by NuGen at Moorside, noting that it has been a “difficult period” for progress on the assessment. The report says that it has found issues with both the quality of some submissions and with delays in their timing. ONR does recognise that these issues do not affect all areas and progress has been made on some subjects but overall it is recommending that more resources are committed if the reactor is to achieve its target end date.
Unsurprisingly Westinghouse has moved to play down the issues raised. Jeff Benjamin Senior Vice President, New Plants and Major Projects at Westinghouse was keen to stress the close working relationship that the company has with the regulators and confidence it has in the completion of the process. He told Nuclear Matters, “The regulators have offered a careful perspective on the UK AP1000 plant project, providing constructive feedback throughout the process. Westinghouse has delivered revisions or validations of all GDA resolution plans to the regulators to address their concerns. Westinghouse has confidence in the safety of AP1000 plant design and that it will achieve the Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) from the ONR and the Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA) from the Environment Agency.
“Westinghouse looks forward to continuing to work with the regulators on GDA closure to support NuGen in advancing the project to deliver safe, clean, reliable energy to West Cumbria.”
The report can be found on the ONR website at: http://news.onr.org.uk/2016/03/generic-design-assessment-quarterly-update/