Rolls-Royce SMR entering regulatory assessment process

7 March 2022

Rolls-Royce SMR (Photo credit: Rolls-Royce)Rolls-Royce announced that its 470MW small modular reactor (SMR) design is entering the UK's Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process with regulators – the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. 

It makes the most significant step so far in securing consent for the SMR design to operate in the UK and follows successful completion of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy's (BEIS's) initial screening process, Rolls-Royce said.  

Rolls-Royce asked the UK government for clearance to begin the process of seeking regulatory approval for its SMR design in November. ONR said the the assessment will begin once the necessary arrangements around timescales and resources have been put in place. The three-step GDA process is expected to take at least four years to complete. 

“Entering the GDA assessment process is another major milestone as we head at pace towards our goal of deploying a fleet of SMRs which will produce affordable, low carbon electricity – helping meet future energy demands and reach our net zero targets," said Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR CEO.  

“The UK regulatory process is internationally recognised and respected. We welcome the scrutiny and challenge that goes into the assessment of our nuclear power plant design,” he added.  

The 470MW Rolls-Royce SMR draws upon well-established pressurised water reactor (PWR) technology, coupled with what it calls ‘a unique factory-made module manufacturing and on-site assembly system’ that can be installed and commissioned quickly on site, and at lower project risk.

Helena Perry, Regulatory and Safety Affairs Director noted that "Rolls-Royce SMR has a dedicated team with previous experience in GDA, licensing and permitting. We have a collaborative relationship with the UK regulators and are using all our experience and learning to move at pace through the GDA process." 

UK regulators have previously carried out GDAs for: EDF-Areva's UK EPR, completed in December 2012; Westinghouse's AP1000, completed in March 2017; Hitachi-GE's Advanced Boiling Water reactor, completed in December 2017; and China General Nuclear's UK HPR1000, completed in February 2022

Photo: Rolls-Royce SMR has been (Photo credit: Rolls-Royce)

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