GDA process

The Environment Agency (EA), the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) need to make sure that any new nuclear power station built in the UK meets the required high standards for:

  • Safety

  • Security

  • Safeguards

  • Environmental protection

  • Waste management

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The process, Generic Design Assessment (GDA), allows the regulators to assess new nuclear power station designs for deployment in the UK. Successful completion of a GDA in the UK does not necessarily mean that construction a nuclear reactor can start. Further permits and permissions are required. For GDA, Rolls-Royce SMR is known as the Requesting Party (RP), the organisation submitting its generic reactor design for GDA.

The objective for GDA is to provide confidence that the proposed design is capable of being constructed, operated and decommissioned in Great Britain in accordance with the standards of safety, security, waste management, safeguards and environment protection required.

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The GDA process has 3 steps:

  1. Initiation
  2. Fundamental assessment
  3. Detailed assessment

Rolls-Royce SMR entered Step 1 of the GDA Process on 1 April 2022. Step 1 is the project initiation stage of the design assessment process and will involve discussions to ensure a full understanding of the requirements and processes that will be applied, readiness of the RP to begin Step 2 and a review of the RP’s security and Quality Assurance (QA) arrangements. The completion of Step 1 of the Generic Design Assessment is the most significant milestone so far in securing consent for Rolls-Royce SMR’s power station to be deployed in the UK.

Step 2 is the first substantive technical assessment step. It focuses on the environmental protection fundamentals of the design. It includes assessing the methodologies, approaches, codes, standards and philosophies the RP is using to substantiate their environment case.

For more information about the GDA process and its various steps:

Our regulators

Office for Nuclear Regulation - Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of new nuclear power stations (
Environment Agency - New nuclear power stations: assessing reactor designs - GOV.UK (
Natural Resources Wales