Nuclear Power Stations: Construction

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 2nd August 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their baseline assumption of 160 years for the lifetime of a new nuclear power station, as set out in the Environment Agency guidance on sea level rise, is measured from the expected date of completion of the power station.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The effects of climate change, including sea level rise, are considered and adapted to throughout the lifetime of nuclear power stations from design and construction, through operation and on to decommissioning.

The UK’s robust regulatory framework is designed to accommodate changes in science and expert guidance, whilst ensuring appropriate assessment of the specific operating lifetime of individual stations.

Whilst the National Policy Statement sets out the siting framework and criteria (including flood and coastal erosion risks), all stations will require planning permission and environmental permits from the Environment Agency and safety licensing from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (the ONR) throughout their lifetime. This will require strong evidence from licence holders to demonstrate that the effects of climate change have been thoroughly evaluated and can be managed over the lifetime of stations.

The Environment Agency and the ONR would not allow a site to be built or to operate if they judged that it was not safe to do so.

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