National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

Position Paper – Boiling Water Reactors

Following the recent acqusition of Horizon Nuclear Power by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd, there is the possibility that Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) will be built in the UK over the next decade. The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process has already begun, with the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Hitachi-GE working together, the result of which is intended to be authorisation for Hitachi-GE’s Advanced BWR to be constructed in the UK.BWR technology is new to the UK, although some commonality exists between BWRs and the PWR technology which the UK has already deployed.

The purpose of this paper is therefore to give a description of BWR technology and to set out the basic design and operating principles of the BWR, with a more in-depth look into Hitachi-GE’s ABWR. The evolution of the BWR is discussed, followed by a global overview of BWR deployment. The reactor core and nuclear fuel are then described, with particular emphasis on the differences and similarities between BWRs and PWRs (of which the UK has in-depth knowledge via Sizewell ‘B’ PWR).

A brief summary is made of the design features of the ABWR and, looking further into the future, the ESBWR. Whilst there are a number of important differences (discussed in this paper) between BWRs and PWRs much of the underpinning technology is similar and significant opportunities will exist for the UK supply chain to participate in the licensing, quipment manufacture, construction, commissioning and operation of BWRs.

To download a copy of our BWR position paper, click on the link on the right