SC@nuclear
Monday 22 September 2014

New Build

The UK is on the verge of a major programme of nuclear new build, at the leading edge of the worldwide nuclear renaissance. This could lead to substantial opportunities for the UK civil nuclear industry.

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The following is a summary overview of the new build scene in the UK, and is expanded upon elsewhere on this site.

Background:

In January 2008 Government announced that it was in the public interest that new nuclear should play a role in the UKs future energy mix. As such, Government invited companies to come forward with plans for the development of new nuclear power stations. 

The Coalition Government which took power in May 2010 has backed the plans for new nuclear, and progress to new build remains on track.  

Government support:

The UK government is supportive of – but not involved in – the delivery of a nuclear new build programme for the UK. For more information, view the FAQ on the homepage of this site.

Though government is not directly involved in new nuclear developments, the Office for Nuclear Development (OND), which is part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), is involved in developing the stable policy framework which is essential for new build, removing unnecessary barriers and implementing facilitative actions. The DECC new build timeline  provides an overview of government actions and how they relate to processes being run by the regulators and activity by potential investors.

Utilities: 

  • EDF Energy purchased British Energy and all its assets including land at Bradwell, Hartlepool, Heysham, Hinkley Point and Sizewell in January 2009. EDF Energy and Centrica have formed a 80/20 joint venture to take forward plans to build 6.4GW of new nuclear at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk using the Areva EPR reactor technology.

  • E.On and RWE formed a joint venture known as Horizon Nuclear Power, and purchased land at Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire with the intention to build at least 6GW of new nuclear capacity. The German companies have recently withdrawn from Horizon but new backers are being sought. No decision has yet been taken on reactor technology.

  • Iberdrola and GDF Suez formed the consortium NuGeneration Ltd and purchased land at Sellafield in Cumbria where they have announced plans to build 3.6GW of new nuclear. The consortium have yet to decide which reactor technology they will use.

For more information, view the Supplier Opportunities section of this website.

Reactor technologies:

The UK new build programme will be based upon proven international designs – which will have been built elsewhere in the world before they are developed in the UK. Two designs are currently undergoing the Generic Design Assessment reactor-review process in the UK; the Areva EPR and the Westinghouse AP1000.

For more information on the EPR visit http://www.epr-reactor.co.uk/

For more information on the AP1000 visit http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/

Additionally, you can find out how the Office for Nuclear Regulation and Environment Agency are currently working together to ensure that any new nuclear power stations built in the UK meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management, by visiting http://www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors/.

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Policy framework:

There are currently a number of government processes which are essential to the timely delivery of new build. Primary amongst these are Regulatory Justification, the Generic Design Assesment (GDA) and the National Policy Statements (NPSs). For a comprehensive overview of each procedure, follow the links to relevant government pages; or for a summary overview see below.

Regulatory Justification is a European obligation under which the benefits of any new technology which could emit radiation must be demonstrated to outweigh any potential health detriments. NIA made the application to government on behalf of the industry, and the process was completed in October 2010 - with overwhelming parliamentary approval.

GDA is the process by which a reactor technology is assessed by the regulators for it's suitability for UK build. This process is not site-specific and will be followed by relevant site permissioning. GDA is now almost complete.

NPSs are a key phase of the national process for major infrastructure planning, following the planning Act 2008. The NPSs outline the national policy on development of certain infrastructure and are a crucial phase of the planning process. On 18th July 2011 the House of Commons debated and approved the six National Policy Statements for Energy (NPS).

Electricity Market Reform

In late 2010 the Government proposed a new structure for electricity markets in the UK, described as the most radical reforms for 20 years.  After consultation, detailed ideas were set out in a 2011 White Paper, Planning our electric future – a White Paper for secure, affordable and low-carbon electricity.

More information on EMR

What quality codes and standards will I need to meet?

The codes and standards will be graded dependent on what you intend to supply. However, quality is of utmost importance regardless of what you are supplying and must meet appropriate specification. You can get fuller guidance on quality and accreditation by viewing the brief on the home page of this website and by reading The Essential Guide to the new build nuclear supply chain.

Sites:

After consideration in the National Policy Statements for nuclear the Government determined that the sites indicated below are potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations in England and Wales before the end of 2025.

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