New UK Reactor Designs Pass Initial Safety Review

Nuclear regulators, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Environment Agency said four new designs for nuclear power stations have passed the first step of a Generic Design Assessment, with no safety, security, or environmental flaws identified that would prevent them from ultimately being constructed on licensed sites in the United Kingdom. The findings are based on claims made by the vendors for the designs.

The nuclear regulators' reports on their findings are available at www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors. The assessment ensures that safety, security, and environmental aspects of new nuclear power stations are assessed during their design stage.

"Our job, through the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security, is to protect people and society from the hazards presented by the nuclear industry. As new nuclear power stations are being considered for the UK, it is vital for regulators to get involved with potential designs at the earliest stage -- where regulatory assessments can have most influence -- so that we can ensure that the existing high standards of nuclear safety and security in the UK are being maintained and improved," said Mike Weightman, who heads HSE's Nuclear Directorate and is chief inspector of nuclear installations. "The GDA process has set out new standards in openness and transparency with the creation of a public involvement process whereby the public can view designs on the web and comment on them, and by our decision to publish all our assessments reports on the web."

The complete GDA process is expected to take around 3.5 years, with the regulators then publishing their conclusions about the acceptability of the designs. The Environment Agency regulates radioactive waste disposal and other issues.

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