Frequently raised queries on the ABWR have been listed below. These include questions put to Hitachi-GE formally, as well as those which occur regularly throughout the comment process.
Did you have to go through Generic Design Assessment (GDA)?
Any technology build in the UK has to be permissioned by the regulators. The GDA is a voluntary process which enables a Requesting Party (reactor vendors and promoters primarily) to undergo a thorough assessment of its generic safety case and design in advance of the developers securing a Site Licence. We believed that undertaking GDA was the most effective way for the regulators to asses our design, and have voluntarily entered the process.
Does Generic Design Assessment (GDA) give the go ahead for the planned stations at Wylfa and Oldbury?
GDA is an important process , but it is one of many for a nuclear power station. Horizon Nuclear Power – the developer at these two sites – will need to secure a range of local and national permissions, involving a range of consultations, in order to take their projects forward.
Does Generic Design Assessment (GDA) relate only to Wylfa and Oldbury?
GDA is a national assessment and applies to any proposed UK ABWR development in the UK.
How long did the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) take?
The GDA of the UK ABWR began in April 2013, and was concluded in December 2017.
Do "Regulatory Observations" or "Regulatory Issues" mean that the design is not safe?
No, not at all. The regulators raised ROs or RIs where they believe that further work was needed. In each case, we responded to their satisfaction. RIs, ROs and our resolution plans have all been published by the regulators.
What was the GDA comment process?
The GDA comment process is a key part of GDA – mandated by the regulators and run in line with their guidance. Anyone with information relevant to the Generic Design Assessment of the UK ABWR was invited to comment – and received a response from Hitachi-GE. Both comments and responses were shared with the UK regulators.
Was Hitachi-GE involved at Fukushima?
Hitachi and GE were both involved in different aspects of construction and maintenance at the site. However, neither was responsible for on-site operational matters – the site is run by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
Isn't the ABWR basically the same sort of design as the reactors at Fukushima destroyed by the Tsunami in March 2011?
The ABWR is a development from the design used in the Fukushima reactors in the same way as a modern car is a development of a car from the 1950s. ABWR has many features that were not included in the Fukushima reactors or available when they were designed. The UK ABWR - which has been awarded a DAC and SoDA - has further learned from the lessons of Fukushima and received further improvement through the GDA process.
There’s more information on these systems available on our reactor safety page.