Government starts nuclear justification process

On 31 March 2008, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) invited the nuclear industry to submit reactor designs for new nuclear power stations for its approval under the "justification process" (see BERR press release).

Under the Justification of Practices involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/1769), the Secretary of State has to decide whether the use of new nuclear reactors and processes is "justified" by ensuring that the benefits outweigh any health detriment. The justification process is separate from the Generic Design Assessment process being undertaken by the nuclear regulators.

The justification process is part of a package of measures set out in the Nuclear White Paper, which the Government is launching to facilitate the building of new nuclear stations by the private sector (see Practice note, Nuclear White Paper).

During March 2008, the Government:BERR expects it will take 18 months, including a public consultation, to reach justification decisions for the reactor designs submitted.
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