National Nuclear Laboratory


Thursday 1 October 2015

NNL Supports New Reactor Dialogue Study

NNL has participated in the Independent Oversight Group for the Generic Design Assessments (GDA) new reactor dialogue study. A public dialogue project was developed to review and improve public involvement in design assessments of nuclear reactors for potential new nuclear power stations. The report was supported by Sciencewise (part of BIS – Business, Innovation & Skills), the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Government identified a number of facilitative actions should be undertaken for nuclear including that the regulators should develop a pre-licensing process for new nuclear reactors, Generic Design Assessment, GDA. An important objective in the nuclear regulators’ assessment of new nuclear power station designs (known as the Generic Design Assessment or GDA) is openness and transparency. The regulators are keen to build public confidence and public engagement is a key part of the GDA process, for example the regulators’ consultation on their preliminary findings. The dialogue project for the GDA of the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor – (ABWR) was to allow the regulators to gain new perspectives and insights from members of the public and with the aim to further build public trust in the regulators and their decisions, as part of the dialogue process.

NNL’s Dr Colette Grundy, an NNL Laboratory Fellow in Nuclear Regulation was involved in the public dialogue project as a member of the Independent Oversight Group. Colette was a regulator on nuclear new build in GDA from 2007 until late 2011 when she joined NNL.

“It was good to be working with Nuclear Regulator colleagues again on GDA matters. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to draw on my past experience as a regulator in GDA in attending the dialogue workshop for the ABWR reactor. It was great to work with the members of the Independent Oversight Group to ask questions and challenge the design of the dialogue process. I had the opportunity to understand public perceptions of the nuclear industry and the regulatory process through attending a dialogue workshop and reviewing findings. I found this extremely interesting and it provided valuable insight.”