* EPR designed by EDF, Areva
* Gov't firms negotiating minimum electricity price
LONDON Dec 13 British regulators on Thursday
approved a design for new nuclear reactors favoured by EDF
Energy which has proposed building two new plants in
The approval for the EPR (European Pressurized Reactor)
design could see it used at multiple sites in Britain, and
removes a regulatory hurdle as utilities such EDF Energy weigh
up tens of billions of pounds in new investment.
"The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment
Agency are satisfied that this reactor, designed by EDF Energy
and Areva, meets regulatory expectations on safety, security and
environmental impact," the regulators said in a statement.
It added: "There remain site-specific issues that must be
addressed before we'll approve its construction on any site."
EDF Energy said the approval by regulators recognised that
the EPR reactor designed by French engineering firm Areva
met stringent safety requirements.
"It has been demonstrated that the design is robust even
when challenged by extreme events such as those seen following
the Fukushima incident in 2011," the company said in a
EDF is proposing to build two new nuclear power plants in
Britain close to existing atomic stations.
In September the company said it would make a decision by
the end of this year on whether to proceed with construction at
Hinkley Point in southwestern England.
But EDF has not yet confirmed whether it will start work on
a new reactor at the site.
Britain's government is negotiating with utilities on the
minimum electricity prices they can charge in order to make the
building of new power projects, such as nuclear and offshore
wind, economically feasible, with further details expected by
Costs for new nuclear power stations have soared in recent
years, amid tighter regulation and rules for the industry in the
wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011, raising concerns
that the technology will be too expensive.