Development and construction of a new nuclear power station can span 10 to 20 years. The development phase is delivered by two separate organisations: the vendor, who develops the design for construction and operation by others and the developer, who initiates and leads one or more nuclear power station projects.
The developer also requires an operating organisation which will hold the required regulatory licences, consents and permissions to build and operate a nuclear power station. There can be a number of different legal relationships between the developer and operator such as wholly owned, part owned in a joint venture, or long-term contract. The essential requirement is that during the development phase the developer needs to ensure that there is an operating organisation, also known as the licensee, which is established as a distinct legal entity and capable of fulfilling its legal obligations.
The long period of development is delivered in a sequence of related activities. For each activity there needs to be sufficient confidence that the planned goals can be achieved consistent with the level of investment. The activities are inter-related, which requires an integrated development programme with a combined set of requirements and outcomes.