UK-based EDF Energy and France’s Areva have received generic design approval for the EPR rector from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency (ONREA).
EDF Energy plans to build two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Areva had already signed memoranda of understanding with 25 British firms for the supply of components and services for the reactors.
The ONREA said the reactor designed by Areva and EDF Energy meets regulatory expectations on safety, security and environmental impact.
The EPR reactor had already been certified in China, France and Finland. It is now the first and only generation III reactor design to receive certification in the UK.
Prior to the construction of reactor at any UK location, site-specific consents and approvals from the concerned regulators and planning permission from UK Energy Secretary are required.
UK Energy Minister John Hayes welcomed the decision and noted that the regulator has worked closely with both the firms involved to ensure rigorous examination of this technology.
"These final reactor design approvals from the regulator cap an excellent year for nuclear new build in the United Kingdom, which I am confident will go from strength to strength in 2013," Hayes added.
Commenting on ONREA's decision, Areva chief executive Luc Oursel said, "The EPR™ reactor is the only generation III reactor under construction in three countries and now certified in four."
EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz stated, "It represents four years of hard work and allows our project have a stable design before we start, offering a huge boost for the predictability of costs."