Nuclear regulators have begun a generic design assessment (GDA) of the UK version of the proposed Chinese HPR1000 nuclear technology for use in a new plant at Bradwell in Essex.
The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) said the move marked the first step in the process of seeking permission to build a nuclear power station at the site.
A joint application to begin the process was submitted to the DBEIS in October 2016 by the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and EDF through their joint venture company GNS (General Nuclear System Ltd).
The reference plant for the design is CGN’s Fangchenggang Plant Unit 3 in China which is under construction and on schedule according to the DBEIS.
The government body said that the proposed Bradwell project was in an early pre-planning stage which would involve years of investigative work and public consultation before detailed proposals could be produced. Only then could a planning application to be made.
A UK version of HPR1000 reactor is expected to be built at Bradwell following GDA approval.
The DBEIS said that CGN and EDF had been working together for more than 30 years on nuclear development and construction in China. The same partnership is to build the recently approved Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset and is also set to develop Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex.
“The robust independence of the UK’s regulators is seen across the world as a key strength for nuclear in Britain,” said CGN UK general manager Zhu Minhong. “This is a quality which we value and respect. CGN and EDF will bring to this enterprise their joint experience in China, Britain and France over many years.”
EDF Energy nuclear new build managing director Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson said: “EDF will bring invaluable experience gained from the approval process for Hinkley Point C’s EPR reactors and from our continuing work with the UK’s independent regulators. Both EDF and CGN will also be listening carefully to the community around Bradwell before we draw up detailed proposals for the development of the new power station.”
The DBEIS said that the GDA process would take a number of years to complete with a number of different consents and permissions to be achieved before a nuclear power station could be constructed. Other requirements include development consent, site licensing and environmental permits.