Rolls-Royce SMR Seeks Regulatory Approval

In a press release yesterday Rolls Royce SMR Ltd. announced that:

Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd has submitted a 470MW Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design for entry to the UK’s Generic Design Assessment (GDA) regulatory process.

The first step is to secure clearance from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through its initial screening process, which will confirm the Rolls-Royce SMR business is suitability qualified to enter the Office for Nuclear Regulation, Natural Resources Wales and Environment Agency’s combined GDA process.

This initial screening process reviews whether a company has the capability and capacity to successfully enter the UK GDA process. The Government evaluation process is expected to take up to four months before the regulators can begin their formal review process.

Helena Perry, Regulatory and Safety Affairs Director, commented:
“This is an important moment for the nuclear industry, as a UK SMR reactor design enters the initial process for regulatory approval for the first time. We have already made 270 design decisions during our pre-licensing engagement and are confident of working with the experienced regulatory teams to deliver an efficient GDA process.”

Perry continued: “We will have around 300 people working full time on these important regulatory processes. Both the industry and regulators have learnt a great deal from previous GDA processes, and we will integrate those lessons into the collaborative approach we will take with the UK regulators.”

In a previous press release on November 8th Rolls-Royce SMR stated that:

Following a successful equity raise, the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business has today been established, to bring forward and deliver at scale the next generation of low cost, low carbon nuclear power technology.

Rolls-Royce Group, BNF Resources UK Limited and Exelon Generation Limited will invest £195m across a period of around three years. The funding will enable the business to secure grant funding of £210 million from UK Research and Innovation funding, first announced by the UK Prime Minister in ‘The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. Today’s announcement is another step towards the delivery of the Government’s net zero strategy and its 10-point plan.

The business, which will continue to seek further investment,  will now proceed rapidly with a range of parallel delivery activities, including entry to the UK Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process and identifying sites for the factories which will manufacture the modules that enable on-site assembly of the power plants. Discussions will also continue with the UK Government on identifying the delivery models that will enable long-term investment in this vital, net-zero enabling technology. Rolls-Royce SMR is engaging with export customers across many continents who need this technology to meet their own net zero commitments.

Warren East, Rolls-Royce CEO adds, “the SMR programme is one of the ways that Rolls-Royce is meeting the need to ensure the UK continues to develop innovative ways to tackle the global threat of climate change. With the Rolls-Royce SMR technology, we have developed a clean energy solution which can deliver cost competitive and scalable net zero power for multiple applications from grid and industrial electricity production to hydrogen and synthetic fuel manufacturing. The business could create up to 40,000 jobs, through UK deployment and export enabled growth. As a major shareholder in Rolls-Royce SMR, we will continue to support its path to successful deployment.”

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to deploy more low carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence. Small Modular Reactors offer exciting opportunities to cut costs and build more quickly, ensuring we can bring clean electricity to people’s homes and cut our already-dwindling use of volatile fossil fuels even further. In working with Rolls-Royce, we are proud to back the largest engineering collaboration the UK has ever seen – uniting some of the most respected and innovating organisations on the planet. Not only can we maximise British content, create new intellectual property and reinvigorate supply chains, but also position our country as a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies we can potentially export elsewhere. By harnessing British engineering and ingenuity, we can double down on our plan to deploy more home-grown, affordable clean energy in this country.”

1 thought on “Rolls-Royce SMR Seeks Regulatory Approval

  1. According to an Environment Agency news release:

    The Environment Agency, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) announced today that they are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd’s 470 MW Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.

    The process, known as Generic Design Assessment (GDA), allows the regulators to begin assessing the safety, security, safeguards and environmental aspects of new reactor designs before site-specific proposals are brought forward.

    Step 1 of the GDA began in April 2022 and this stage has now been successfully completed following preparatory work by Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd and the regulators.

    Today also marks the start of Step 2 which is expected to last for 16 months.

    Step 1 has involved agreeing the scope of the GDA which has been based on information supplied by Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd to ONR, the Environment Agency and NRW so the regulators can undertake a meaningful assessment of the design…

    Andrew Pynn, the Environment Agency’s Strategy and Policy Lead for the Rolls-Royce SMR GDA, said:

    “We’re assessing the environmental acceptability of a new reactor design from Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd. Our team of specialist assessors will identify any issues or concerns we have with the design and will work with the company to make sure it understands our expectations to ensure the protection of communities and the environment.

    GDA is an enabling and efficient approach, helping to ensure that new nuclear power stations will meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management…”

    The GDA process focuses on the design of a generic nuclear power station and is not site-specific.

    The process is systematic and contains a number of steps, with the assessment getting increasingly detailed as the process develops.

    A Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) or Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA), from ONR and the environmental regulators respectively, will only be issued at the end of Step 3 of the GDA if the design meets the high safety, security, safeguards, environmental protection and waste management standards expected by our regulatory frameworks.

    These regulatory judgements do not guarantee the granting of a site licence or subsequent permissions issued under the conditions of a site licence for the construction of a power station based on the Rolls-Royce SMR design at a particular site in Great Britain.

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