UK starts approval process for Chinese nuclear reactor design

UK starts approval process for Chinese nuclear reactor design

by Big Mac

Cooling towers emit vapor into the night sky at a nuclear power plant operated by EON SE in Grohnde, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 07, 2013. Germany's air pollution is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s, after Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to shut nuclear plants led utilities to burn more coal. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The UK Government has asked nuclear regulators to assess a Chinese-designed reactor for a proposed plant in Britain.

Industry and Energy Minister Jesse Norman made the announcement yesterday for a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the UK HPR1000 reactor.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and France’s EDF submitted an application through their joint venture company General Nuclear System (GNS) to the government in October last year for a UK version of the nuclear technology.

The reference plant for the design is CGN’s Fangchenggang Plant Unit 3 in China which is under construction.

GNS hopes to use the reactor at a proposed new nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex.

The plant is in the early pre-planning stage which will involve “years of investigative works and public consultations” before detailed proposals are produced, allowing a planning application to be made, states CGN.

Mr Norman said: “The nuclear industry in the UK is subject to a stringent regulatory regime to ensure safety, security and mitigation of any potential environmental detriment. Generic Design Assessment is now an established feature of the regulatory regime and is a respected process for rigorous and transparent nuclear regulator. I am therefore pleased to be asking the regulators to begin to assess the UK HPR1000 reactor through GDA.”

CGN and EDF have been working together for more than 30 years on nuclear development in China and have formed a partnership in the UK to build the Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset.