UK starts five-year safety study on Chinese reactor for Bradwell

British nuclear regulators are expected to take five years to complete their generic design assessment of China’s HPR1000, or Hualong One, reactor. If the design is passed, it will be used at Bradwell in Essex, one of a number of third generation reactors planned for the UK over the next 10 years.

The reactor will be built by General Nuclear Services (GNS), a joint venture between EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN).

Under the strategic investment agreement the two signed in October, CGN agreed to take a 33.5% stake in EDF’s Hinkley Point project in Somerset, as well as jointly developing plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell. The companies have been working together on nuclear projects in China for more than 30 years.

Hinkley and Sizewell will use EDF’s EPR reactor but Bradwell will use the Hualong One design. The reactor is a third-generation design, originally based on French technology. It has an output of 1,150MW and a design life of 60 years.

According to a statement from EDF, the assessment will be based on unit three of CGN’s Fangchenggang project on China’s Vietnam border, which is began on site in December 2015 and is presently "on schedule".

Zhu Minhong, general manager of CGN UK, said: "The robust independence of the UK’s regulators is seen across the world as a key strength for nuclear in Britain. 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."

Work on Bradwell is presently in the early pre-planning stage. As well as a successful completion of the generic assessment process, the scheme will have to obtain development consent, site licensing and environmental permits.

Image: The Bradwell plant will take the place of this decommissioned Magnox station (Creative Commons)

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