The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), an agency of HSE, and the Environment Agency developed the Generic Design Assessment or GDA process in response to a request from the Government following its 2006 Energy Review.
In their contributions to the Government's Energy Review, ONR and Environment Agency set out proposals to assess new nuclear reactor designs, in advance of any site-specific proposals to build a nuclear power station. The process became known as Generic Design Assessment (GDA).
GDA has a number of key benefits:
The regulators conduct their assessments using a step-wise approach with the assessments becoming increasingly detailed at each step. At the end of each step reports are published, which provide an update on the detailed technical assessment undertaken by the nuclear assessors. The reports highlight any concerns or technical issues that have been raised during the assessment. ONR carries out its assessment in four steps, while the Environment Agency's process consists of a preliminary and detailed assessment followed by a consultation. At the end of the GDA process, the Regulators will decide if the proposed designs are acceptable for build in the UK.
For further details of the GDA process, please see our guidance documents.
A site licence must be granted before a new reactor can be installed and operated on a specific site. Before ONR grants a licence we will ensure that the site is suitable for the particular design, and that the potential operator can adequately control construction, operation and maintenance of the plant to ensure safety.
While GDA and site licencing approval are important elements of the regulatory process, they are only a part of the wider approvals process being taken forward by the Government. For more information visit the Department for Energy and Climate Change website.