Regulators' approach to public and stakeholder engagement for the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the Rolls-Royce SMR Limited 470 MW Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design
About this engagement plan
This plan sets out the regulators' proposed approach to engagement with the public and stakeholders during the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the Rolls-Royce SMR design.
GDA is a joint process undertaken by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) participates in GDA where a new nuclear power station design is likely to be proposed for construction in Wales.
We welcome your feedback and views on our proposed approach to engagement during GDA.
Who might be interested in our engagement?
You might engage with the GDA process if you:
- have knowledge relevant to our technical assessment of the Rolls-Royce SMR
- live or work in an area where this design may be proposed by a developer including those on the NDA estate
- In November 2022, Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd announced that it was prioritising four sites owned or leased by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) for securing 15 GW of new nuclear power. These are Trawsfynydd and Wylfa in Wales, Sellafield, in Cumbria, and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire
- live or work near to a proposed Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd factory site, currently shortlisted locations are Sunderland, South Tyneside, Teeside and Deeside
- represent a 'community' or group that you want to share this information with
- are interested in our process for assessing new nuclear power stations
Our approach to engagement
We will be conducting this design assessment in an open and transparent way, as we did throughout previous GDAs. We will be sharing information and proposals with stakeholders to build their understanding and knowledge of the assessment, our decision-making process and the roles and responsibilities of the regulators.
We will be encouraging and enabling stakeholder input. It's important to us that we involve people in decisions that affect their community. We want to understand everybody's comments and views about the RR SMR design. Where relevant, we can use these comments to help inform our assessments of the reactor design.
While it will always remain the responsibility of the regulators to make decisions throughout a GDA about the adequacy of a reactor design against regulatory requirements, we consider that our decisions will be better informed with meaningful engagement.
We hope this approach will build trust and confidence in us as regulators and enhance stakeholder relationships both locally and nationally.
We want stakeholders to:
- understand how we assess a reactor design and what will happen at each stage of the GDA process
- understand how they can provide their views, what they can and can't comment on, and how we'll use their input to inform our assessment
- have sufficient opportunities to give us their views
- understand the conclusions of our assessment and the decision that we reach
- help make our final decision on the acceptability of the reactor design as robust as possible
- understand more about how GDA fits into the bigger picture of nuclear power station development
- understand the regulators' roles, specifically around regulation of nuclear new build – what we do and what we don't do
Our stakeholders include:
- the public (including local interest and action groups) living near the sites prioritised by Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd (Trawsfynydd, Sellafield, Wylfa and Oldbury)
- the public (including local interest and action groups) living near a proposed Rolls-Royce SMR factory
- the public living near other existing nuclear power stations or those under construction
- elected representatives and government agencies, including MPs
- local councils and other representative bodies, especially those close to potential nuclear new-build sites listed by Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd, or close to existing sites, those under construction, or those potential new-build sites included in the government's Nuclear National Policy Statement
- non-government organisations (NGOs)
- the nuclear industry (including potential developers and operators)
How we will engage and share information with stakeholders
Our communications and engagement activity will include:
- publishing information on our websites – the joint regulators' joint website pages, or our separate websites:
- sharing information through our organisations' own e-bulletins
- attending and speaking at potential developers' nuclear new-build community meetings, planning consultation events and site stakeholder groups
- listening to NGO concerns at nuclear liaison meetings that we organise
- carrying out online public consultations (Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales)
- enabling developers to run a public comments process and promoting the public comments process
- meeting with representatives and groups near proposed sites
- participating in conferences/meetings/public exhibitions run by others (such as the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero's (formerly BEIS) NGO forum)
- organising and inviting national stakeholders to participative workshops or webinars
- working with journalists to share information in local and national media
- using our social media channels to communicate and raise awareness (Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs)
- sharing information through community channels and local advocates
7.1 Comment on a nuclear power station design
The comments process is a requirement of the GDA process. Its main features are the:
- design company publishing information about its design, including that sent to the regulators as part of the assessment process, on its own UK GDA website
- design company inviting questions and comments on the design and information provided and responding directly to the comments received
- design company publicising this process
- questions and comments received by the design company, and its subsequent responses, being seen by the regulators which can be used to help inform our assessments
Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd has published a website as part of this process.
Respond to the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales public consultation
As part of the assessment process, the environment agencies will prepare a consultation document setting out their preliminary conclusions about the design. We will publish and consult on these findings once we have completed Step 3. This is planned for late summer 2025.
Although ONR does not carry out a public consultation, as it has its own well-established avenues of engagement, views submitted via the comments process can also help to inform ONR's, the Environment Agency's and NRW's assessments.
There will also be further opportunities for engagement with us through involvement in various stakeholder groups including Site Stakeholder Groups (SSGs), Local Liaison Committees (LLC), conferences and NGO forums.
Reporting progress and responding to stakeholders
- consider comments received and information arising from the comments process and, where relevant, use these to help inform our assessments
- publish reports:
- summarising stakeholder comments at the end of each GDA step
- setting out the issues raised during the environment agencies' consultations
- explain that if we use stakeholder input to help inform our decisions, we'll report it in our decision documents
- update stakeholders about GDA final decisions through our websites, e-bulletins, social media channels, news stories and at events and conferences.
Feedback on our approach
We welcome feedback on this engagement strategy. Please send your comments to our communications team in each organisation. Email: