Generic Design Approval (GDA) for the nuclear reactor to be constructed at Wylfa is on track for December 2017, according to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), after developer Hitachi-GE provided answers to a ‘serious regulatory shortfall’.
Of major concern to the ONR was the so-called ‘radioactive source term’ – a detailed understanding of the nuclear materials present in the reactor as it operates. ONR said it was “a fundamental part in understanding and therefore being able to control the hazards associated with any nuclear facility” as among others things it is key to understanding the composition in any nuclear release. The issue has been flagged as a major concern since the start of the GDA process – in fact it is dubbed ‘Regulatory Issue ABWR 00001′ – but ONR said it was “now satisfied with Hitachi-GE’s definition and justification for the source terms”.
A Hitachi-GE spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to successfully close this regulatory issue. This is a significant milestone, and all our progress keeps us on track for completion of GDA in December 2017.
“We look forward to continuing progress over the next 12 months to address the challenges which remain. This will require sustained focus and commitment from our 300-plus experts working on this, and from the UK regulators.
“Aside from the technical progress, this shows that we’ve developed real understanding of the UK regulatory regime, which we believe is vital to our overall success.”