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The bigger picture

Our work assessing new nuclear power station designs is just one part of wider plans for nuclear new build in the UK.


How government supports the new nuclear power station programme:

Selecting sites

The Strategic Siting Assessment (SSA) was designed to identify sites in England and Wales that are potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations by the end of 2025. A consultation is currently being undertaken to begin the process towards designating a new Nuclear Policy Statement. 


Before any new type of nuclear power station can be built it must be shown that the benefits of introducing the new type of power station would outweigh the health detriment. This process is called justification.


The Planning Inspectorate is the government agency responsible for examining planning applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Funding waste and decommissioning

Measures have been put in place by Government to make sure companies building and operating new nuclear power stations meet the full costs of decommissioning the power station at the end of its life, and their fair share of the waste management and disposal costs.

Dealing with radioactive waste

Plans are being taken forward by Government to develop a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste, which was one of the recommendations of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM).

Licensing of nuclear installations

An organisation wishing to carry out prescribed nuclear activities must apply for, and be granted, a nuclear site licence before it starts installation of any nuclear safety-related plant. A site licence puts the licence holder under strict legal obligations and, importantly, gives specific regulatory powers to ONR to ensure the safe design, construction, commissioning and operation of a nuclear site. For example a licence holder would typically have to request a consent from ONR to begin nuclear safety related construction.

Environmental permitting

Any company that wants to build and operate a new nuclear power station must obtain environmental permits from the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales.

The environment agencies are responsible for a range of environmental permits relating to construction and operation of nuclear power stations and also for relevant "associated developments" such as workers accommodation. These include permits for radioactive discharges, cooling water discharges and the operation of stand-by generators. The agencies will decide if the permits should be issued and, if so, what conditions should apply.

Office for Nuclear Regulation Environment Agency Natural Resources Wales