AP1000 completes GDA approval for the UK market

Stephen Hardy (Nuclear Regulation Group Manager at Environment Agency) and Richard Savage (Chief Nuclear Inspector at ONR) issuing the Design Acceptance Confirmation to Ash Townes (Moorside project director at Westinghouse)
Stephen Hardy (Nuclear Regulation Group Manager at Environment Agency) and Richard Savage (Chief Nuclear Inspector at ONR) issuing the Design Acceptance Confirmation to Ash Townes (Moorside project director at Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company announced today that its AP1000® nuclear power plant design has successfully completed review by British regulators and it is now approved for deployment in the UK. The completion of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) means Westinghouse has now been issued with Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA) for the AP1000. The DAC and SoDA were issued by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA), respectively.

“The successful completion of this rigorous review by the ONR and the EA has been many years in the making, and it represents a major milestone towards bringing a new generation of safe, clean energy to the United Kingdom through the Moorside Project,” said José Emeterio Gutiérrez, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer.  “In addition, it expands the global regulatory pedigree of the AP1000 plant design and further confirms Westinghouse’s innovative safety technology.”

The Moorside Project, developed by NuGeneration Ltd, is planned to consist of three AP1000 units in West Cumbria. The project is designed to help secure the UK’s future energy supply by delivering affordable, low-carbon electricity as part of a balanced energy mix.

Westinghouse initiated the GDA process, which applies to England and Wales, in 2007. After receiving Interim Design Acceptance Confirmation (iDAC) and Interim Statement of Design Acceptability (iSoDA) in December 2011, the company paused the review process pending selection of the AP1000 plant technology for a project in the UK. The GDA resumed in 2014 after NuGen announced plans to build three AP1000 units at the Moorside site. Since then, Westinghouse has provided detailed technical information to address and resolve regulators’ questions.

The announcement is a major boost for the company at a time when its parent company Toshiba is under serious financial pressure. It has also been welcomed buy the nuclear industry as a whole with Nuclear Industry Association Chief Executive Tom Greatrex saying, “The design approval of the AP1000 is welcome news for the UK’s new nuclear programme. This is the second reactor design to have successfully completed the approval process of the UK’s independent regulator and to be licenced for use in the UK.”

“The design approval process assesses the safety, security and environmental impact of the technology and today’s announcement signals the conclusion of a thorough, rigorous and detailed process widely acknowledged as world class.”

The three units planned at Moorside would build on Westinghouse’s experience on the world’s first eight AP1000 units, which are currently being delivered at four sites in the United States and China. Two units each are in the final stages of completion at the Sanmen and Haiyang sites in China, with an additional two units each under construction at the V.C. Summer and Vogtle sites in the US. Moorside would create over 21,000 high skilled jobs over its lifetime.