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Developer to accelerate Bradwell works after Wylfa nuclear woes

Bradwell b

Chinese nuclear developer China General Nuclear (CGN) is set to accelerate work on Bradwell B, capitalising on the cancellation of other UK nuclear projects.

Following the suspension of Hitachi’s Wylfa project in Anglesey and the cancellation of the NuGen project in Moorside, sources close to CGN have said that plans for the 2.2GW nuclear power station in Essex could now be accelerated.

A spokesperson for Bradwell B confirmed to New Civil Engineer that the disruption to other nuclear projects has presented an “opportunity” to accelerate the schedule for Bradwell B.   

The cancellation of the other projects would likely free up a large portion of the nuclear supply chain, allowing future work to be progressed faster at Bradwell. 

“There is an opportunity to pull the project forward, with the aim of achieving generation in the early 2030s,” the spokesperson said.  

Bradwell B is a joint project led by CGN and supported by French energy giant EDF, which has a one-third stake in the project.  

In December, before the suspension of the Wylfa project, CGN UK chief operating officer Robert Davies suggested that CGN could hypothetically “close the gap” in bringing Bradwell B online sooner than planned.  

“We are confident we can close that gap by bringing Bradwell into operation much sooner. Rescheduling the project, bringing forward the commercial operation date, bringing forward final investment decision and focusing on a target commercial operation date of circa 2030.” 

Investigative works in preparation for the development consent order application are already underway at the site in Essex.  

Bradwell B’s scheme would use HPR1000 reactors, which recently entered the third stage of their generic design assessment and consultation.  

HPR1000

Source: China General Nuclear

China General Nuclears HPR1000 design that has been submitted for its generic design assessment

The HPR1000s are pressurised water reactors with several active and passive safety design features developed following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. They include multiple redundancy shutdown systems.  

The reactor core of the HPR1000 is made up of 177 sets of 3.6m fuel assemblies. Each fuel assembly consists of 264 fuel rods, 24 guide tubes and one gauge pipe which are arranged in a 17 by 17 array. 

The exact number of reactors to be installed at the site has yet to be determined, but the plant has been billed to have an operational capacity of 2.2GW.

CGN has also hinted at further expanding its nuclear project portfolio by potentially acquiring the Moorside project abandoned by NuGen

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