The European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), which is the design for the first UK nuclear plant for 25 years, has been approved after a five year process.
EDF (the energy supplier) and Areva (the nuclear engineer) are looking to build two new sites in Somerset, although they will be subject to planning permission. EDF has also still not confirmed 100% if it will take on the project and invest. But this approval by regulators is a step in the right direction for the future of energy supply in the country. The regulators had to approve the designs before the process could move forward, assessing it on safety and environmental grounds.
The day when the new plants are up and running is likely to be some time away. The first instances of building the EPR in Finland, France and China have taken much longer than expected, partly due to the design request changes following the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan. The changes made were largely around flood protection and pumping equipment. The Office of Nuclear Regulation requested that following the disaster in Japan, the designers of the EPR looked at what happened and how this could be avoided at a new plant.
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