Office for Nuclear Regulation

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The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the safety regulator for the civil nuclear industry in the United Kingdom.[1] It is an independent statutory corporation whose costs are met by charging fees to the nuclear industry. The ONR reports to the Department for Work and Pensions, although it also works closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change.[2]

History[edit]

The establishment of the ONR followed a 2008 review conducted on behalf of the Government into the regulation of the UK civil nuclear industry, recommending the creation of a single industry specific regulator.[3]

It was initially created on 1 April 2011 as a non-statutory agency of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with the Government intending to put the ONR on a statutory basis at a later date.[4][3]

The ONR was formed from the merger of the HSE's Nuclear Directorate (the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, the Office for Civil Nuclear Security and the UK Safeguards Office) and from 1 June 2011, the Department for Transport's Radioactive Materials Transport Team.[3]

Nick Baldwin, former chief executive of Powergen (now E.ON UK) was appointed part-time interim chair of the ONR on its formation,[1] resigning as a non-executive director of Scottish and Southern Energy.[5] John Jenkins was appointed as Chief Executive of ONR from 1 June 2013,[6] having previously been chief operating officer.[7]

Legislation to establish the ONR was included in the Energy Act 2013, and it was formally launched as an independent statutory corporation on 1 April 2014.[8]

John Jenkins resigned from his post on 28 February 2015 and was replaced by Les Philpott on 1 March 2015 as the Interim Chief Executive. Adriènne Kelbie was appointed Chief Executive and took up the appointment on 18 January 2016.[9]

Generic Design Assessment process[edit]

Following the 2006 Energy review the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate developed the Generic Design Assessment process (GDA), now operated by ONR, to assess new nuclear reactor designs ahead of site-specific proposals.[10] The GDA started assessing four designs:

However the ACR-1000 and ESBWR were subsequently withdrawn from the assessment for commercial reasons,[11][12] leaving the EPR and AP1000 as contenders for British new nuclear builds.[13][14] Assessment of the AP1000 was suspended at Westinghouse's request, awaiting a firm UK customer before addressing issues raised by the assessment.[15]

In 2012 Hitachi purchased Horizon Nuclear Power, announcing intent to build two to three 1,350 MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) on both of Horizon's sites.[16] The ABWR will first require a UK GDA.[17] The assessment was agreed in April 2013,[15] and is likely to finish in December 2017.[18]

In 2015 Westinghouse resumed the AP1000 assessment, after Toshiba and ENGIE purchased NuGeneration and announced plans to develop Moorside Nuclear Power Station with 3 AP1000s. The GDA was initially planned to finish in March 2017. However as of November 2016 the ONR noted there was a "very large amount of assessment to complete with issues still emerging". Slippage of the completion date is likely,[19][20] though good progress was made early in 2017.[18]

On 21 September 2015 Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced that a Chinese designed nuclear power station was expected to be built at Bradwell nuclear power station. The reactor chosen will first require a UK GDA,[21][22] which is likely to start in 2017 assessing the Hualong One.[23] On 19 January 2017 the GDA process for the Hualong One started, expected to be completed in 2021, in advance of possible deployment at the Bradwell nuclear power station site.[18]

On 30 March 2017 the AP1000 successfully completed the GDA process,[24] ironically the day after the designer, Westinghouse, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of $9 billion of losses from its nuclear reactor construction projects, mostly the construction of four AP1000 reactors in the U.S.[25]

UK Trident programme[edit]

Main article: UK Trident programme

Although the ONR is primarily a civil regulator, it has responsibility for assessing the response systems for nuclear weapon accidents at HMNB Clyde and RNAD Coulport, in Argyll, Scotland.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b New UK nuclear industry regulator launched HSE, accessed 3 April 2011
  2. ^ "Who we work with". ONR. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Proposed changes to the way we work HSE, accessed 3 April 2011
  4. ^ Creation of the Office for Nuclear Regulation – Written ministerial statement from the Department for Work and Pensions published 2011-02-08, accessed 3 April 2011
  5. ^ Baldwin leaves SSE board Herald Scotland, published 2011-04-02, accessed 3 April 2011
  6. ^ John Jenkins formally appointed as Chief Executive of ONR, published 2013-06-07, accessed 9 June 2013
  7. ^ Appointment of Chief Operating Officer, published 2012-05-31, accessed 9 June 2013
  8. ^ "ONR becomes Public Corporation". ONR. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  9. ^ http://news.onr.org.uk/2015/10/onr-announces-new-chief-executive/
  10. ^ "Background – assessment of new nuclear power stations". Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "AECL bows out of British reactor development to focus on Canadian projects". CBC News. 4 April 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  12. ^ "Interview: "We will be back" in Europe, says GE". Nuclear Engineering International. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "New Nuclear Power Stations – Progress so far". Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  14. ^ "News – Taking GDA work forward in the light of the unprecedented events in Japan". Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "UK starts ABWR design assessment". World Nuclear News. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Hitachi buys UK nuclear project from E.On and RWE". BBC. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "ABWR set for UK design assessment". Nuclear Engineering International. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c "UK GDA reports good progress for AP1000 and UK ABWR". Nuclear Engineering International. 23 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "UK regulator reports 'slippage' in assessment of AP1000 design". World Nuclear News. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "UK regulators question Westinghouse's target date for AP1000 GDA". World Nuclear News. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  21. ^ George Parker (21 September 2015). "UK paves path for west's first China-designed nuclear reactor". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "China ready to build new nuclear plant at Bradwell-on-Sea". Essex Chronicle. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "UK to start regulatory assessment of Chinese design". World Nuclear News. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "Westinghouse AP1000 completes GDA process in the UK". Nuclear Engineering International. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  25. ^ "Westinghouse files for bankruptcy". Nuclear Engineering International. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  26. ^ "HM Naval Base Clyde – Quarterly report for 1 July 2011 to 30 September 2011". Bootle: Office for Nuclear Regulation, Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 

External links[edit]