ONR grants nuclear site licence for Sizewell C

ONR grants nuclear site licence for Sizewell C

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) yesterday announced that a nuclear site licence has been granted to install and operate a nuclear power station at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

The decision was made following an assessment of the nuclear site licence application made by Sizewell C Ltd, with our review concluding that the application has met all the requirements set out in regulatory guidance.

In our initial assessment of their application we identified two outstanding matters that required resolution before a licence could be granted.

At that stage, it was determined that we would carry out a proportionate reassessment of the application, focusing on these areas.

The two topics that prevented granting of a licence in 2022, related to the shareholders’ agreement and ownership of land at the site, have now been resolved to ONR’s satisfaction. In addition, the regulator has concluded that progress made since 2022, relating to both Sizewell C Ltd’s organisation and the suitability of the proposed site, do not undermine ONR’s other findings from the earlier nuclear site licence assessment.

Although the granting of a site licence is a significant step, it does not permit the start of nuclear-related construction on the site.

ONR’s regulatory responsibility starts at the point of granting of a nuclear site licence. Now granted, it is able to use the powers within that  licence to require Sizewell C Ltd to request our permission for starting nuclear-related construction.

Similarly, the licensee is required to seek our regulatory permission to proceed to subsequent key construction and commissioning stages up to the start of commercial operation and beyond.

Mark Foy, ONR’s Chief Nuclear Inspector and Chief Executive said: “I am pleased to confirm that following extensive engagement and review by the ONR team, our assessment of the Sizewell C application is complete and a nuclear site has been licence granted.

“The licensing process is fundamental in confirming that operators of a nuclear site are ready and able to meet their obligations under the nuclear site licence, to protect their workforce and the public.

“The granting of this licence is one step in ONR’s process, allowing us to provide greater regulatory oversight, advice and challenge to the licensee as they progress their plans. “We will continue working with Sizewell C to ensure that the highest levels of quality, safety and security are met.”

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