Bradwell B: The public consultation on the reactor design is over - but there is still a chance to find out more and make comments

  Posted: 10.04.21 at 09:00 by The Editor

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Both the company behind the proposals for Bradwell B new nuclear power station and a campaign group against the development have given their response to the end of the Environment Agency’s (EA) public consultation on the design of the nuclear reactor.

The public consultation on the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the ‘UK HPR1000’ reactor, which is planned for use at Bradwell B, closed on Sunday, 4 April.

The EA’s 12-week consultation asked the public’s views on its preliminary conclusions and assessment reports for the reactor design. The design has been put forward by General Nuclear System Limited, a joint venture between CGN (China General Nuclear Power Group) and the French power company EDF.

Reaction from the company behind the Bradwell B plans

Chris Hall, GDA Officer for General Nuclear System Limited said: “We thank everyone who took the time to engage with the consultation, ask questions and provide comments to the regulator. Our teams supported the EA’s consultation events, and we were very happy to field questions about the UK HPR1000 to help people, locally and nationally, understand the technology and the purpose of GDA.

“We continue to engage with the EA and the other UK regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, to address questions and comments that they raise, and we are confident that they will all be resolved by the end of the process in 2022.”

GDA is separate, but complimentary to, applications to build nuclear power stations at specific sites such as Bradwell. Through the GDA process, regulators can ensure that new nuclear power station designs proposed for the UK will meet high standards of safety, security, and environmental protection. To find out more about all the different consents and permissions related to building a new nuclear power station at Bradwell B, see the consents and permits webpage.

However, campaign group Bradwell B Action Network said: “The GDA consultation process brought to our attention a number of concerns that the Environment Agency (EA) and Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) have raised during their assessment of the design for the twin reactors that BRB (Bradwell B Power Generation Company) are proposing to build at Bradwell On Sea.

“We were pleased to host our own online event for our community members to question first-hand the regulators and reactor developers about the reactor design and GDA findings. The nature of the issues and findings raised would suggest that the developers have considerable work to do to meet the environmental and safety standards we have here in the UK and thereby get their GDA approval.

“The EA raised a total of six “issues” which if not resolved would prevent the reactor design from being constructed here in the UK. It’s interesting to note that the HPR1000 design is not yet operational anywhere in the world, with four units currently under construction in China including the reference design unit for the Bradwell B reactors.”

A summary of the issues raised by the Environment Agency

Summarised, the issues raised by the EA include:
1. issues with safety case documentation
2. a need to ensure that adequate consideration is given to the safety aspects of the design – and ensuring that environmental protection is given appropriate consideration when reviewing safety aspects
3. the proposed use of rectangular filters in the reactor’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system – there is a need to show that these are as good as or better in terms of environmental impact than the cylindrical filters considered the best type by the regulator
4. conceptual design for the spent fuel interim store
5. insufficient evidence of the strategy for the management of in-core instrument assemblies (ICIAs) and how any changes to the strategy will impact disposal of the ICIA wastes
6. questions over whether the higher activity waste from the reactor will be able to be disposed of in a geological disposal facility.
The BANN spokesperson added: “The EA has also raised a total of 40 assessment “findings” which are concerns that are required to be resolved by the developer or future operator of the reactors but which are not sufficient to stop approval (though they can escalate to an “issue” if suitable actions plans are not submitted, and therefore have the potential to halt approval).”

The public can still find out more and make comments

Those wanting to explore these issues and other information about the GDA can visit the Government website using the link here.
A spokesperson for BRB said: “Despite the consultation closing, an ongoing separate public comments process about the UK HPR1000 remains open.

“Outside of the formal consultation and until autumn 2021, members of the public can still find out more about Generic Design Assessment and comment, at the website using the link here.

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