UK ABWR Completed GDA Assessment

Hitachi-GE’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design approved for construction in the UK.

Horizon Nuclear Power plans to build two 1300MWe ABWRs at the Wylfa Newydd site on Anglesey by the mid-2020s; followed by two at Oldbury-Upon-Severn, South Gloucestershire.

The UK Advance Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR) provided by Hitachi-GE has now completed the generic design assessment (GDA) – an assessment conducted by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. GDA is a joint process undertaken by the ONR and the Environment Agency. The regulators get involved with nuclear reactor design companies at the earliest stage where they can have the most influence. The process focuses purely on the reactor design and does not consider any site specific issues. The regulators will only conduct GDA on a new power station design following a request from the government.

Hitachi-GE’s UK ABWR began the Generic Design Assessment in April 2013. The process has entailed detailed assessments and submissions across 20 topic workstreams.

The UK ABWR achieved a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA) on the 14th December 2017. This means that the regulators are satisfied that the UK ABWR meets regulatory expectations on safety, security and environmental protection at this stage of the regulatory process.

Each build will still require a site-specific licence. Horizon expects to obtain all necessary licences for Wylfa Newydd by the end of 2018.

The Design Acceptance Certificate (DAC) for the UK ABWR is signed by ONR’s Mark Foy (Image: Hitachi-GE)

ONR chief nuclear inspector Mark Foy commented: “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.”

Jo Nettleton, deputy director for radioactive substances and installations regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “We’ve concluded that the generic design of the UK ABWR should be capable of meeting the high standards of environmental protection and waste management that we require in the UK. We only came to this conclusion after carefully reviewing the submissions provided by GE-Hitachi and their responses to the questions and issues we raised. We’ve also carefully considered all the comments we received from people during our public consultation and we’re grateful for all who took part for taking time to respond.”

Horizon CEO Duncan Hawthorne welcomed the completion of GDA. He 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.” Hawthorne added, “It’s testament to the strength of the combined team, and the proven nature of the technology, that the GDA process has been completed and delivered on time.”

Tadashi Kume, president & representative director of Hitachi-GE, said: “Meeting the famously high standards of the UK regulators and completing GDA within our five year target further demonstrates the strength of this project, and capability of the team delivering it. GDA is a thorough and rigorous assessment, and receiving approval on schedule is a credit to the outstanding design of the UK ABWR.”

Bill Lee, Sêr Cymru Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Bangor University said: “This is really good news and emphasises the need for the UK in general, and N Wales in particular, to provide technical education and leading research into the Boiling Water Reactor since this is a new reactor design for the UK”.

The ABWR design has already received regulatory approvals in the USA and Japan. Four units have been built in Japan, and the ABWR is under construction at Shimane and Ohma sites in Japan.

How two UK ABWR units could appear at Wylfa Newydd (Image: Horizon)

Horizon Nuclear Power hopes to build two ABWR units at Wylfa Newydd site on the island of Anglesey in North Wales and start them up in around 2025. The units would be the first commercial boiling water reactors in the UK. Horizon estimates that around 60 per cent by value of the first reactor will be sourced in the UK, with more local input into later plant. Hitachi-GE has signed agreements with Rolls-Royce and Babcock International to plan and deliver the programme, and will establish an assembly facility for its modular construction technology in the UK.




Article Written by Professor Bill Lee


Visit Report: Engineering Wales Conference, Cardiff 2017

The Engineering Wales Conference was held by the Engineering Research Network Wales in Cardiff on October 18th.  The workshop consisted of various workshops and plenary talks including a talk from Peter Jolley, the Chief Engineer from Aston Martin and Ton Fijen the Technical Director of Tidal Lagoon Power. There were also short talks on the best way to connect business to academic research and upcoming funding opportunities that might be useful to both the business and academic attendees of the conference.

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Visit Report: Hitachi-GE ABWR Seminar, 17th-18th October, Birmingham

The 7th seminar of the Hitachi-GE academic technical seminar series, which started in 2013, was held in Birmingham on October 17th and 18th 2017. The conference began with an introduction to the seminar which included a brief explanation of the BWR Hub and its activities. This was followed by a plenary talk by Dame Sue Ion on the Future of UK Nuclear, which gave a positive summary of the current UK position on Nuclear Energy. The second plenary talk was given by Dr Mike Weightman who gave an interesting talk on the lessons learned from Fukushima, which was followed by an update on the Wylfa Newydd Project.

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Visit Report: Nuclear Academics Meeting 2017

The UK Nuclear Academics Meeting was held in Lancaster on the 4th and 5th of September 2017. The meeting was an opportunity for the Nuclear Academics across the UK to come together and discuss recent developments across the Nuclear Community. The talks were broken down with a Nuclear Research Consortia session and two Panel Sessions on Policy and Implementation on the first day and an International Programme Session, followed by a UK National Programme Session and Education and Training Updates on the second day.

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Seminar: Hitachi ABWR Seminar, Birmingham University 🗓 🗺

Hitachi GE Logo

The University of Birmingham will host the latest in the Hitachi ABWR seminar series, on the 17th and 18th of October 2017.

There are talks from Prof Same Sue Ion (former Chair of NIRAB among other leading positions) and Dr Mike Weightman (former ONR Chief Inspector and prepared the UK’s response to Fukushima). Dr Ming Ang will represent Horizon Nuclear Power, and will give a summary and update of the Wylfa Newydd project. There will also be experts from Hitachi speaking on a number of topics such as Core andFuel Design, Safety Analysis and Modelling and RadWaste issues.

Registration is free – please register here.

Engineering Wales Conference 🗓 🗺

This event is not organised by the BWR Hub and Network however it may be of interest to our readers:

Engineering Research Network Wales

The National Research Network (NRN) in Advanced Engineering and Materials (AEM) is launching a major Engineering event for Wales – the Engineering Wales Conference on October 18th 2017 in Swansea.

The event, sponsored by the NRN AEM with funding from the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Council for Wales (HEFCW); this event will bring together researchers, students and industrialists alike to celebrate the excellence in applied science and technology that is present in Wales.

The BWR Hub will be hosting a Workshop titled ‘Showcasing the BWR Hub and Network’ where we will be discussing possible research ideas and the funding opportunities that we are currently offering.


For more information, please go to the Engineering Wales Conference Website.

Memorandum of Understanding between Bangor University, Imperial College London and Hitachi-GE.

Professor John G. Hughes (Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University), Kumiaki Moryia (Corporate Chief Engineer at Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd.), Dr Michael Bluck, (Director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London).

Bangor University, Imperial College London and Hitachi-GE signed a memorandum of understanding on October 26th 2016 with the aim of building on a previously signed memorandum between Imperial and Bangor. This new memorandum highlighted the role of Hitachi-GE within the BWR Research Hub and Network who will make a reasonable effort to provide effective guidance, provide access to a number of its leading technical experts who will draw on Hitachi-GE’s amassed corporate understanding of BWR systems and associated technical matters, with the overall aim of the hub to advance cooperation and provide a structured forum for interaction. » Read more