British regulators said Thursday that a new nuclear reactor design from China has completed the first phase of assessment and are progressing to the next phase, as the whole process of assessment will ultimately determine whether the design is fit for use in Britain.
A comments process, which enables anyone to submit comments and questions about the reactor design to the company that proposes the design, will also be launched, according to an announcement jointly made by Britain's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency.
"I am satisfied that there are adequate project management and technical provisions in place to enter Step two of the process and, as regulators, we can begin our technical assessment phase," said Mike Finnerty, ONR's Deputy Chief Inspector and Director of ONR's New Reactors Division.
The new reactor design from China, the UK HPR1000, was developed by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). HPR1000 is one of the most widely-received third-generation nuclear power models on the market, according to CGN.
But before it can be used in Britain, the new design needs to undergo a process known as Generic Design Assessment (GDA), which allows regulators to begin assessing the safety, security and environmental aspects of new reactor designs.
CGN and EDF had submitted a joint application through their joint venture company GNS (General Nuclear System Ltd) to the British government in October 2016 to begin the GDA process for a UK version of the HPR1000 nuclear technology. The aim is to seek permission to build a nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex.
The whole process of GDA, divided into four phases, is expected to last some 60 months, and the second phase will take about 12 months to complete, according to CGN.
CGN will endeavor to complete HPR1000's GDA process and launch the construction of the reactor in Britain, said He Yu, chairman of the board of CGN, in a statement.