14 Dec 11

Interim design acceptance for EPR a major milestone say EDF Energy and AREVA

EDF Energy and AREVA are pleased by the decisions by the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to issue an Interim Design Acceptance Confirmation, and the Environment Agency to issue an Interim Statement of Design Acceptability, for the EPR Pressurised Water Reactor.

This achievement is a major step forward for the construction of the next generation of safe, low carbon nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom.

The companies welcome the ONR’s conclusion that: "we are largely satisfied with the design and safety cases" and "a major milestone has been achieved in that we have reached the end of our planned assessment".

Equally welcome are the comments from the Environment Agency that, "We are content with the environmental aspects of the design, that it should meet the high standards we expect."

All areas requiring final resolution have been identified and detailed plans to address them to the satisfaction of ONR have been agreed. Additionally, the companies have agreed a dedicated resolution plan for new issues that have been identified as a result of the events at Fukushima.

The companies welcome the ONR’s indication that final Design Acceptance Confirmation should be issued provided the companies’ resolution plans for outstanding issues are delivered. AREVA and EDF Energy are committed to delivering these resolution plans.

EDF Energy Chief Executive, Vincent de Rivaz said:

"This is very good news for the EPR and for UK new nuclear build. It is a major milestone which follows a detailed four-year review by one of the most rigorous independent nuclear safety authorities in the world. We are conscious that there is still a lot to do to achieve final certification, and we will do it.

"All this is important for new nuclear build and its legacy of clean, secure and affordable energy, as well as the jobs and economic boost our project is now delivering."

Alain-Pierre Raynaud, Chairman of AREVA UK, said

"This is a very important moment. After four years of the most detailed and careful examination of the EPR design by the UK regulators, they have concluded that they are largely satisfied with both the design and the safety case of the EPR and are prepared to issue an Interim Design Acceptance Confirmation for the UK".

"We have already closed out a number of the outstanding issues and look forward to satisfying the regulators on any remaining questions, including those raised by Fukushima. This will open the way to construction of the first EPR in the UK and all the benefits our low carbon technology will bring in terms of employment and assured energy supply."

Notes to Editors

Key progress on UK Nuclear New Build in 2011:

 The Government has set out how it is reforming the electricity market. The carbon price floor is in place and we are working with Government on the practical details of the Contracts for Difference including transitional arrangements.

 The National Policy Statement was set in stone in July by a Parliamentary vote of 267 to 14.

 Shortly after, also in July, the local authorities in Somerset took a major decision to grant permission for site preparation.

 Following a three year consultation with the local community, EDF Energy submitted its Development Consent Order application to the IPC, which it accepted on November 24.

 Major progress has been made on the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) as it enters its final stage.