UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey has approved use of the Hitachi-GE UK ABWR reactor for installation in a new nuclear power station by developer Horizon Nuclear Power.
The Secretary of State has concluded that use of the technology is justified and that the benefits offered in terms of security of supply, carbon reduction and economic activity ‘clearly’ outweigh any potential disadvantages.
The decision has been made as part of the Regulatory Justification process, which is a legal requirement for new nuclear technology and is designed to ensure that the benefits to society of the UK ABWR outweigh any potential radiological health detriments.
Horizon Nuclear Power was formed in 2009 to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK. It was acquired by Hitachi Ltd of Japan in November 2012. The company is developing plans to build at least 5,400 megawatts of new nuclear power generation plant at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire.
Horizon’s developments will represent multibillion pound investments in Anglesey and South Gloucestershire. They are expected to create up to 1,000 jobs at each site during operation, with a peak construction workforce of around 6,000.
Horizon Chief Operating Officer, Alan Raymant said: “This is an important step forward and we welcome the positive draft decision by the Secretary of State.”
“Alongside the good progress being made by our lead contractor Hitachi-GE on the Generic Design Assessment of the UK ABWR, it clearly demonstrates the strengths of our chosen technology and the wider benefits our multi-billion pound project will bring.”
The Regulatory Justification application was made by the Nuclear Industry Association in December 2013 with the support of Horizon and Hitachi-GE. The draft decision is now subject to a period of public consultation which will run until October and follows a previous round of consultation which was undertaken earlier this year.
As well as final approval under the Justification process, Horizon will also require a range of other regulatory and statutory approvals, including those relating to safety, environmental and planning consents before it can proceed with its projects at Wylfa Newyyd and Oldbury.