Office for Nuclear Regulation

GDA of Rolls Royce SMR Limited’s 470MW Small Modular Reactor design

1 April, 2022

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR,) the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), began Step 1 of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for Rolls-Royce SMR Limited’s 470MW Small Modular Reactor design at the start of April, 2022.

This followed a request from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to begin a GDA on the design proposed by Rolls-Royce, following the government’s readiness review of the Rolls-Royce application.

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

It contains a number of steps, with the assessment getting increasingly detailed as the process develops.

The new modernised ONR GDA approach will consist of three steps, rather than four, as seen in some GDA processes in the past.

Current estimations are that Step 1 could take just over a year, and the whole assessment take four to five years.

The regulators are following a modernised approach that is different to past GDA processes, but the standards and expectations are the same.

The Rolls Royce SMR has never been built before and ONR/EA/NRW will be first regulators for this UK design.

We will only issue a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and a Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA) at the end of the GDA if the design meets the high safety, security, environment protection and waste management standards expected by our regulatory frameworks.

A DAC and SoDA does not guarantee that permission will be granted for the construction of a power station based on the Rolls-Royce SMR design at a particular site in Great Britain.

If any DAC and SoDA were approved, the process would also require a nuclear site licence from ONR, environmental permits from Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales, and also planning permission from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) before any construction might begin.