GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today submitted its ESBWR reactor design to government regulators in London to initiate the generic design assessment (GDA) process as the United Kingdom considers whether to build a new fleet of reactors to help meet its energy and emissions-reduction requirements.Good luck to the folks at GE and Hitachi. I'm sure it's a high quality application.
GEH is seeking “design acceptance confirmation” from U.K. nuclear energy regulators – the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agencies and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security – which is required before utilities can seek to build new plants based on the ESBWR in the United Kingdom. The business also has begun adding staff to its U.K. nuclear project development team.
Included in its application, GEH submitted letters of endorsement from credible nuclear power operators stating they considered the ESBWR to be a serious contender for the first projects in a U.K. initiative to replace the country’s existing fleet of nuclear power plants. GEH received letters of endorsement from Iberdrola of Spain (which recently acquired Scottish Power), RWE npower and British Energy. A fourth European-based utility has also endorsed the ESBWR.
Within two weeks, GEH expects to be notified by the U.K. regulators’ coordinating body, the Joint Programme Office, as well as the Department of Trade and Industry, on whether the ESBWR will be included in the first group of reactor designs to be assessed. If selected, the business will begin the initial step of the GDA process, which is expected to last until the start of 2008.
The entire GDA review is expected to take three-and-a-half years. This review is similar in purpose to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) design certification review of the ESBWR, which began in 2005.