Britain on Tuesday asked regulators to begin an assessment of a Chinese-designed nuclear reactor for a proposed plant in Bradwell, southeastern England.
Jesse Norman, the government’s minister for energy and industry, said in a statement to parliament that he had requested the independent assessment, which is expected to last a number of years.
General Nuclear Services (GNS), a partnership between French state-owned power giant EDF and Beijing’s state-run China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), plans to use the design at the Bradwell facility in Essex.
The announcement comes after the government gave the green light in September for two French-designed reactors at a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, southwestern England, in a project which is also backed by EDF and CGN. “I have today requested the UK’s independent nuclear regulators, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, to begin a generic design assessment of the UK HPR1000 reactor,” Norman said. “This is the nuclear reactor design by CGN which GNS propose to use at a prospective nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex.” He added: “International companies continue to view investment in the UK’s low-carbon energy future positively.”
In reaction, CGN and EDF welcomed the news. “The robust independence of the UK’s regulators is seen across the world as a key strength for nuclear in Britain,” said Zhu Minhong, general manager of CGN UK. “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.”
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy’s nuclear new build managing director, added: “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.”