National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

NNL selected to support new nuclear build

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), together with partner, Integrated Decision Management (IDM), has been selected by the Office for Nuclear Development (part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)) to provide technical advice as part of the EU Regulatory Justification process of new nuclear reactors in the UK.

EU law requires that before any new nuclear power station is built, their designs must be ‘Justified’. This involves a high-level, generic assessment to determine whether the overall benefit of the practice of ionising radiation outweighs any potential health detriment. 

EU Regulatory Justification does not amount to a permission to build a nuclear station. It only provides a high level assessment of the associated benefits and health detriment. Further site specific statutory and regulatory processes related to licensing, authorisations and planning consents would be required before approval for construction can occur.

NNL Strategy Director, Andy Elsden commented:

“NNL is very pleased to again be working with IDM on behalf of the Office of Nuclear Development. Given our depth of technical and socio-economic understanding, this is exactly the sort of activity the NNL has been set up to undertake.”

IDM Director, Gregg Butler said:

“We are delighted to provide technical advice regarding reactor technology and associated fuel cycle issues as part of the EU Regulatory Justification process. In IDM, we have a keen interest in sustainability and under the EU regulations, “Justified” in relation to a new class or type of practice means Justified by its economic, social or other benefits in relation to the health detriment it may cause..

“IDM previously worked with NNL experts on the technical aspects behind the definition of a ‘class or type of practice’. We are very pleased to be able to work with NNL again to capitalise on the extensive knowledge and expertise across reactor technologies and their related fuel cycles.”

DECC recently held a consultation on a Nuclear Industry Association Application for the EU Regulatory Justification of four ‘new build’ reactor designs. A decision on whether a new practice is “Justified” is taken by the Justifying Authority, which in the case of nuclear energy is the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. A further consultation will be held later in the year on the Secretary of State’s draft decision.