*Why are we writing to you?
The UK needs new and replacement energy infrastructure that can provide secure, reliable, low carbon electricity. The 2008 Nuclear White Paper said that nuclear power could play a vital role in this. Power companies are now planning to build new nuclear power stations in England and Wales and two sites potentially suitable are at Hinkley Point and Oldbury . We would like to tell you about our role in this process and highlight an opportunity for you to tell us what you think of the designs and our findings so far.
What is happening?
We regulate the nuclear industry on environmental matters and are currently working with the Health and Safety Executive to make sure that any new nuclear power stations would meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management. Together we have implemented a new approach called ‘Generic Design Assessment’ (GDA) and have been assessing two new reactor designs from an early stage, in advance of site specific proposals coming forward. This enables us to identify any problems and influence the design at an early stage, before any major construction begins. We are currently assessing two different reactor designs: Westinghouse’s AP1000™ and the Areva/EDF designed UK EPR™.
As part of our GDA process, we are conducting a consultation on our findings so far. The consultation recently began on 28 June and will last sixteen weeks, closing on 18 October. We welcome your views. At the close of the consultation we will carefully consider the comments received before we reach a final decision on the acceptability of each of the two designs. We intend to publish the key issues raised during our consultation before the end of the year and to come to a view about the acceptability of the designs in June next year.
If a developer comes forward with proposals for a new nuclear power station at a specific site, they will still need to apply for and obtain all the safety, security, environmental, planning and other permits that are required before development can proceed. When considering any future applications for site specific environmental permits we will take into account all the work we have done on GDA.
How can you get involved?
You can take part by visiting the Environment Agency consultation on-line at:
You can call 08708 506 506* and ask for a consultation document, or
send an email to: email@example.com and request the consultation papers.
* Approximate call costs: 8p plus 6p per minute (standard landline). Please note charges will vary across telephone providers.