Plans to construct a boiling water nuclear reactor on Anglesey have taken a major step forward as plans for the project are approved by regulators.
The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), designed by Hitachi-GE, has been given the go-ahead for construction in the UK by regulators following completion of an in-depth assessment of the reactor’s design.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales have been satisfied that the reactor meets regulatory expectations on safety, security and environmental protection at this stage of the regulatory process.
Mark Foy, ONR’s Chief Nuclear Inspector said: “The completion of the generic design assessment of the UK ABWR is a significant step in our regulation of the overall process to construct this type of reactor in the UK, ensuring that the generic design meets the highest standards of safety that we expect in this country.
“We’re already working on our assessment of Horizon’s site licence application and on the development of the site-specific safety case to progress, in due course, the construction and operation of these reactors at Wylfa Newydd.”
Horizon Nuclear Power is proposing to build and operate two of these reactors: one in Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and one in Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire.
Approval of the Japanese reactor design for Horizon Nuclear Power’s plant at Wylfa marks the end of a five-year regulatory process.
Duncan Hawthorne, Horizon’s chief executive, said: “This is a huge milestone for Horizon and a major leap forward for us in bringing much-needed new nuclear power to the UK.”
Attention will now turn to financing the Hitachi-backed project on the island of Anglesey, which was the site of Britain’s oldest nuclear plant until it closed two years ago.
Tim Jones, Natural Resources Wales’s executive director for North and Mid Wales, said: “It is our job to ensure that any new nuclear power station will meet high standards of environmental protection and waste management, ensuring that our communities and environment are kept safe.”
Ministers said last week that nuclear power can and will compete with rival technologies, such as offshore wind, which itself has reached record low prices.