First new nuclear reactor for 20 years receives ‘interim design acceptance confirmation’

The design of Britain’s first new nuclear reactor for 20 years received initial approval this week.

An “interim design acceptance confirmation” was issued by the Office for Nuclear Regulation on Wednesday at the same time as the Environment Agency published its own provisional statement of approval.

The approval for the EPR [European Pressurised Reactor] design takes energy firm EDF one step closer to being able to start work on its planned plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said: “All this is important for new nuclear build and its legacy of clean, secure and affordable energy, as well as the jobs and economic boost our project is now delivering.”

EDF still has to satisfy the regulator on a number of remaining technical issues but has received assurances that if the regulator’s requirements are met, a final approval will be forthcoming. It does also need to pass local planning stipulations and further site-specific assessments before getting the final go ahead.

On Tuesday, EDF announced that it will award around £200m of supply chain contracts for construction work at the plant and associated works to roads and staff accommodation. The figure does however include a £100m preparatory works contract on which a joint venture between Kier and Bam has been confirmed as preferred bidder.