U.K. Completes First Assessment of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Reactor

The U.K. finished a preliminary study of a General Electric Co. and Hitachi Ltd.-developed nuclear reactor, bringing the technology closer to approval in Britain.

The U.K. Advanced Boiling Water Reactor will begin the second of four steps in the Generic Design Assessment process to ensure the technology is safe and suitable for use, the Office for Nuclear Regulation said today in an e-mailed statement.

Britain is pushing a new generation of nuclear plants two decades after its last atomic power station was built. In October, it reached an agreement with Electricite de France SA to pay the French utility 92.50 pounds a megawatt-hour of power from its planned atomic plant at Hinkley in southwest England. That figure is 75 percent higher than current wholesale prices.

Hitachi in October 2012 agreed to buy Horizon Nuclear Power, which proposes to build as many as six new nuclear reactors at two U.K. sites: Wylfa in northwest Wales and Oldbury in western England. It’s now seeking approval for its reactor to be used at those sites.

The Advanced Boiling Water Reactor has been licensed in the U.S. and Taiwan. The U.K. began the process of ensuring it’s suitable for use in Britain last January. The regulator said on its website that the entire process is expected to take another four years, with step two taking eight months.

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