On 30 June 2020, ONR received an application from NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd for a nuclear site licence to construct and operate a twin EPR™ power station at Sizewell in Suffolk, adjacent to the existing Sizewell B station. We expect the design of the power station to be closely based on that currently under construction at Hinkley Point C.
In addition to a nuclear site licence, before it can start construction, the applicant must obtain a number of site-specific permissions from other regulators and Government, including environmental permits and planning permission in the form of a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State. NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd has submitted applications for environmental permits to the Environment Agency and for a DCO to the Planning Inspectorate .
ONR's regulatory responsibility starts at the point of granting of a nuclear site licence. If we decide to grant the licence, after our assessment of the application, we will use the powers available under the site licence to require the licensee to request our permission for starting nuclear safety related construction at Sizewell C. Similarly, the licensee will be required to seek ONR’s permission to proceed to subsequent, key construction and commissioning stages up to the start of commercial operation.
Our assessment of the site licence application will culminate, if successful, in a recommendation to the ONR Chief Nuclear Inspector on granting the licence. Our publication Licensing Nuclear Installations provides guidance on the licensing process and the factors that we may take into account when reviewing an application for a nuclear site licence.
We will undertake our assessment activities in accordance with the guidance provided in the Licensing of Nuclear Installations document and ONR's Safety Assessment Principles, Technical Assessment Guides and Technical Inspection Guides.
The overall outcome of our assessment will be a Project Assessment Report that will draw together the views of ONR's technical specialists on the applicant’s readiness to become a nuclear site licensee. NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd is targeting a licence grant by mid-2022, and we plan to complete our assessment of the application within this timescale.
ONR is committed to being an open and transparent body, and will publish on this website the following material:
The application is organised into a portfolio of high-level documents, covering a number of technical topic areas, and includes a summary document.
Should it be granted, a site licence puts the licence holder under strict legal obligations and, importantly, gives wider and deeper regulatory powers to ONR to ensure the safe construction, commissioning, operation and eventual decommissioning of a nuclear site.
ONR is the independent regulator for nuclear safety and security for the UK. Our duty is to ensure that the nuclear industry controls its hazards effectively, has a culture of continuous improvement and maintains high standards.
We are responsible for licensing companies that wish to construct and operate new nuclear power stations at sites in Great Britain.
We will assess this application, partly informed by our previous assessment of the EPRTM at Hinkley Point C - including using the relevant lessons from that assessment, while focusing on aspects specifically relevant to Sizewell C.
We will request more detail on the areas for assessment and produce inspection reports, the areas for assessment for a nuclear site licence are - organisational capability, site suitability & safe design, licence condition compliance arrangements, emergency preparedness & response, conventional & fire safety, security, safeguards, and licensing & legal aspects.
We need to be satisfied that the applicant's choice of site is suitable; that it understands the hazards and risks of the activities that it proposes to carry out; and that it has a suitable schedule of safety submissions leading through to a pre-construction safety case.
We place particular emphasis on the need to gain confidence that the applicant has the organisational capability to lead and manage for safety. This means that we must be satisfied with the applicant's governance arrangements, resources, competencies and management processes before we can consider recommending that the Chief Inspector grants a licence.
The duration of ONR's assessment is dependent on a number of factors, including quality and timeliness of the submissions, but we anticipate being ready to make a decision by mid-2022.
The overall outcome of our activities during the assessment phase will be a Project Assessment Report that will draw together the views of ONR's technical specialists on NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited readiness to become a nuclear site licence holder.
No. The assessment of a nuclear site licence is a significant step, but is not itself permission to start nuclear-related construction. That requires a separate regulatory permission from ONR.
In addition to a nuclear site licence and permission to start nuclear-related construction, before it can start construction, the applicant must obtain a number of site-specific permissions from other regulators and Government, including environmental permits and planning permission in the form of a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State. NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd has submitted applications for environmental permits to the Environment Agency and for a DCO to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate’s examination of the DCO application began in April 2021 and is expected to end in October 2021, with a recommendation to the Secretary of State anticipated in early 2022.