• Building better energy together

    Image: Bradwell B site with Bradwell in the background

Frequently Asked Questions


Section 1 – About CGN and EDF Energy

1. Who is developing Bradwell B?

CGN and EDF Energy are partnering to develop proposals for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea, Maldon in Essex. Together they are also developing plans for Sizewell C in Suffolk and are currently building a nuclear power plant in Somerset called Hinkley Point C

It is proposed that Bradwell B will be developed with a third-generation pressurised water reactor called the UK HPR1000, similar to the current Sizewell B reactor in Suffolk.

During the development phase of Bradwell B, CGN will take a 66.5% share and EDF Energy will take a 33.5% share.

CGN and EDF Energy have a longstanding partnership spanning 30 years.  Most recently, their joint experience in the construction of two reactors at Taishan in China will bring direct benefits to their partnership in the UK.

2. Who is CGN?

CGN is a leading global clean energy company, with diverse interests including hydropower, wind power and solar, as well as nuclear power, fuel and financing.

We have more than 30 years’ experience of safely delivering nuclear power projects, starting with our first reactor, at Daya Bay, commissioned in 1994.

CGN and its subsidiaries have 42,000 employees worldwide, and we have total assets of RMB 635 billion (£73bn).

Nuclear power lies at the heart of our commitment to clean energy. CGN is the world’s largest builder of nuclear reactors, and in China we are the largest owner and operator of nuclear power stations.

CGN has 22 nuclear units in operation in China, with a total capacity of 24.2GW, or 53% of China’s installed nuclear power capacity.  It also has 6 units under construction with a capacity of 7.54GW, accounting for 61% of China’s nuclear new build projects, and 13.5% percent of all new build globally.

CGN has an unmatched track record in terms of safety and operational performance.

All of CGN’s operational units are in the top quartile according to the World Association of Nuclear Operators indicators.  CGN has had zero events classified as INES Level-2 or above.  And the company exceeds targets in terms of radioactivity dosage and effluent discharge.

CGN has excellent operational record. By end of 2018, Unit 1 of LingAo phase I had been running safely for 4,600 days without any planned shutdowns.

CGN has more than 26GW of renewables capacity in 15 countries making us one of the most significant global owners and operators of renewables. In Europe our ambition is to secure 3GW of renewables capacity over the next 3 years, becoming the leading European renewables provider. In Ireland and the UK CGN already has 340MW of onshore wind (Douyan, Clover and soon Brenig).

More information is available here.

3. Who is EDF Energy?

EDF Energy is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity, meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand and supplying millions of customers and businesses with electricity and gas. It generates electricity with eight nuclear power stations, more than 30 wind farms, one gas and two coal power stations.

Together with its partners, EDF Energy is leading the UK’s nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. This will provide low carbon electricity to meet 7% of UK demand. The project is already making a positive impact on the local and national economy, British industry, as well as boosting skills and education.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to approximately 37.1 million customers.

In the UK, the company employs around 13,000 people at locations across England and Scotland. More information is available here.

Section 2 – About Bradwell

1. Where is the proposed site?

The proposed Bradwell B site neighbours the decommissioned Bradwell nuclear power station in Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex (Bradwell A). The site was designated by the Government in 2011 as being potentially suitable for nuclear new build.

2. What stage are you at?

The project is at an early stage. There are many consents and permissions required before a new nuclear power station can be developed, which includes a Development Consent Order (DCO), a Nuclear Site Licence, and various environmental permits. Detailed public consultation will form an integral part of the DCO consent process over a number of years.

To prepare our proposals for consultation in the future, a variety of investigative and technical studies to understand the site and surrounding environment in more detail need to be completed.  .

During 2018, we undertook preliminary ground investigations in accordance with our existing planning permission. 2019 will see further investigative works, including both marine surveys and ground investigations.

Separate but connected to the work above, is the assessment process for the HPR1000, the reactor we are proposing to use at Bradwell B.  More information is available on this in the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) section below.

3. What is happening at the existing Bradwell station?

The existing Bradwell station is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. More information is available here.

4. Would Bradwell B be safe?

Yes. Nuclear safety is our overriding priority and is at the forefront of building and operating nuclear power stations.

All nuclear power stations in the UK need to comply with appropriate regulations. For example, nuclear power stations across the UK are designed to ensure that they will be secure against natural hazards that have a frequency of less than one in 10,000 years. These hazards include tides, storm surges and tsunami as isolated and in-combination events.

Nuclear power stations also stage regular exercises to demonstrate to the regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), that there are appropriate arrangements for dealing with emergencies. The exercises are performed against challenging scenarios agreed with the ONR, and also involve other regulatory bodies, the emergency services, local authorities and central Government.

5. How would you deal with the waste from Bradwell B?

The UK HPR1000 reactor design marks significant progress towards sustainability. The reactor has been designed to optimise the use of nuclear fuel and to minimise the production of long-lived high-level radioactive waste.

The UK needs to deliver a long-term solution for all its radioactive waste, past and future and not just from the civil nuclear industry but from other industries as well. The UK Government’s solution is the construction of a geological storage facility.

As a developer of new nuclear power stations, we will play our part by putting in place robust plans to manage the waste and spent fuel that is produced.

Further information on radioactive waste management can be found here.

6. Why do we need to build Bradwell B?

The UK urgently needs new investment in energy infrastructure to replace old and polluting electricity generation sources. Since 2010, 26 power stations have closed, which equates to 20% of the UK’s generation capacity. By 2030 a further 35% of existing generation capacity will close down and decisive action must be taken now.

7. What is the site for Bradwell B like?

The application site, comprising 183 hectares, is located on the south side of the Blackwater Estuary at the northern end of the Dengie peninsula, some 15km east of the town of Maldon in the parish of Bradwell-on-Sea within the District of Maldon.

The site lies immediately to the east of Bradwell Power Station (Bradwell A) which is being decommissioned. The site comprises part of a former WWII military airfield and its former runways and associated roads and buildings are still present. The site is under arable use and has large open fields divided by a network of ditches. These ditches generally flow south-north towards the estuary. Weymark’s ditch runs through the eastern part of the site and is a designated Main River.

There are a few scattered farmsteads and dwellings within and around the general area of the application site.  No public rights of way traverse the application site, however the site is left relatively open and the community can currently cross the site away from areas of work activity.

8. What is the site's geology?

Previous desk study and intrusive ground investigations on-site have shown that the geology beneath the topsoil consists of a layer of superficial deposits comprising mainly marine or estuarine alluvium on the lower lying land towards the estuary grading to River Terrace Deposits further inland. There is a layer of clay and then chalk. The base of the chalk has not been proven, but from available evidence the chalk is thought to be more than 250m thick.

9. How will the impact on the environment be assessed?

A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be undertaken to understand the effects Bradwell B could have on the environment. The approach taken is comprehensive and well-organised in order to deal with the variety of technical specialists involved, as well as the need to integrate many of the environmental and social issues that may potentially arise. Furthermore, the EIA has to incorporate the comments and knowledge of a wide range of statutory and non-statutory stakeholders, as well as the input of the local community.

Assessment of potential impacts will be undertaken for both the construction and operations phase of the development.

10. What will the impact be on the Blackwater Estuary?

A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be undertaken to understand the effects Bradwell B could have on the Blackwater Estuary. In addition, we are making preparations to commence some marine surveys in 2019. These surveys will include the collection of meteorological data from an on-shore weather station.

11. How will the construction materials get to the site? What will the impact be on local traffic?

The overall transport strategy will need to be developed and would ultimately form part of the public consultation on the proposals (see section 3 below). But at other CGN and EDF Energy construction sites, marine, road and rail transport are all considered.

12. Who will manage the operation of Bradwell B?

As we are at the very early stages of the project, all work is focused on understanding the site better and being able to develop and construct Bradwell B.

CGN has the capability to operate the power station, but our main aim at this time is to deploy our HPR1000 design.  Being a long-term investor in the UK, we recognise the sensitivities of being an operator of nuclear power plants; we could consider, if necessary, being part of a joint operating organisation controlled by a well-known UK operator, responsible for safety to the ONR. The details of the power station’s operation will be discussed and agreed later in the process.

Section 3 – Community involvement

1. How will the local community be consulted about Bradwell B proposals?

We will engage with local communities throughout the process of seeking permission to build Bradwell B. We are at the early stages of the project but in due course as plans develop we will hold formal events where local people can meet the project team and provide their feedback to influence our plans.

EDF Energy has extensive experience of undertaking meaningful community consultation having done so at Hinkley Point in Somerset, and being in the process of doing so at Sizewell in Suffolk. The CGN and EDF Energy partnership will draw heavily on this experience, and will work together with the local communities around Bradwell.

No power station will be built at Bradwell without such extensive community consultation which will provide wide ranging opportunities to feed in views and influence the proposals.  Nor will it be built without planning approval from the Secretary of State, a process in which public consultation is an integral part. It is a rigorous process and offers no guarantees to the developer.

There will be a dedicated project information line, email address and website to enable residents to easily access information throughout the life of the project.

2. How can I contact CGN and EDF Energy?

You can call the project’s information line on 01621 451 451 or contact the team via the project’s email address at info@bradwellb.co.uk

Section 4 – Benefits

1. Will Bradwell B provide employment opportunities for the local community?

If built, it could provide significant opportunities. We are committed to ensuring local people benefit from the skills and employment opportunities the project could bring. During the life of the project, Bradwell B could bring significant investment into the local economy every year. The construction and operation of Bradwell B could create thousands of employment and apprenticeship opportunities in a broad range of occupations and careers.

Hinkley Point C is Bradwell B’s sister project. It is already being built in Somerset following around seven years of planning and development.

The Government has published a report revealing the benefits the project is already delivering. The report shows that the Hinkley Point C project has so far committed to spend over  £1.3bn in the south west. Over the lifetime of the project, the Hinkley Point C project aims to bring £4bn into the regional economy.

If you want to know more about Hinkley Point C, please visit the project’s website http://www.edfenergy.com/hinkleypointc.

2. How will the project benefit the young people of Essex?

At Bradwell B, we are planning to build far more than just a power station – they will be leaving the local community with skills and opportunities for future generations.

Plans to deliver the above will be developed in partnership with local and regional organisations.

EDF Energy’s nationwide school engagement programmes already aim to enthuse children aged between 5 and 19 years old, to encourage the take up of STEM (Science, Engineering and Maths) subjects. These subjects form the basis of a career in engineering, and will help build children’s awareness of careers that are available in the energy industry.

As an example of the types of activities undertaken in support of nuclear new build in Suffolk, where we are consulting on our proposals for Sizewell C, local outreach initiatives have included:

  • Headline sponsor of the first Festival of Learning in Suffolk aimed at bridging the gap between businesses and the education
  • Sector Patron of the Suffolk Young Chamber, which aspires to develop the county’s young talent
  • Exhibitor at Suffolk Skills Show which attracts 5,000 visitors
  • Pretty Curious activities at Trinity Park in Ipswich developed to inspire girls to pursue STEM subjects at secondary level.

We already work with regional bodies such as the New Anglia local enterprise partnership on the development of sector skills plans for Sizewell C. We will be working closely with Essex County Council to ensure our skills plan is in line with their strategy and those of other sectors.

3. What are the other benefits of Bradwell B to the UK, Essex, and local communities?

The Bradwell B project aims to have a positive and lasting impact on Essex and the East of England region. To that end, listening to local people and ensuring the host community benefits will be critical to the project’s success.

Here in the East of England local firms are already benefiting from the nuclear industry through contracts awarded during the 18 month refuelling and maintenance work at Sizewell B and through contracts for Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C. For example, Essex firm Ovivo installed the water filtration system for Sizewell B and has won a £27million contract to do the same for Hinkley Point C.

4. What is the Community Fund?

We have launched an annual Community Fund of £10,000 to provide small grants to help local projects. The fund is administered for us by the Essex Community Foundation.

Find out more about the criteria and submit an application here.

Section 5 – Investigative works

1. At what stage are the investigative works?

Over the past year, the team on site has successfully been undertaking early investigative works for the Bradwell B project.

We have reached a stage where we taking the data and analysing it.  As a result, there is reduced activity on the areas of the site where the investigative works were being conducted, although this will change in 2019 when further investigative works will be undertaken.  We will update the local community on the details of these as we progress.

2. How will these investigative works impact public access to the site?

We have always been happy for the community to make use of the site, although there are no formal rights of way. As we are undertaking our early investigative works it is still necessary to fence off small areas for safety reasons, but it remains a largely open site to the public.

The areas where we are working will naturally change as the project moves forward. At present, only the site compound remains fenced off and is staffed by security personnel.

Please continue to check back here to stay up-to-date.

Section 6 – Generic Design Assessment (GDA)

1. How does Generic Design Assessment (GDA) work?

The GDA process will look at the safety, security and environmental aspects of the HPR1000 reactor design. The process has a number of steps, with the assessments getting increasingly detailed. As the Requesting Party, we will submit certain documents to the regulators for review at each stage. Following their assessment at the end of each stage, the regulators will publish reports on their findings and highlight any concerns or technical issues that have been raised.

2. Does the GDA give the go ahead for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell?

We will need other site-related consents and permissions from regulators and government before we can build anything.

We will need to secure regulatory approval and planning permission, including a nuclear site licence, a development consent order and environmental permits. Please refer to our Wider Context page for more information.

3. Under what circumstances would a GDA not be successfully completed?

A GDA will not be successfully completed if we do not provide enough information to the regulators, or if their assessment identifies any significant safety, environment or security issues which can’t be resolved.

4. At what stage of the GDA process is Bradwell B?

In January 2017, we began the GDA process for the UKHPR1000 nuclear reactor, the reactor technology that we are proposing to develop at Bradwell B.

On 15 November 2018, the regulators confirmed the successful completion of Step 2 and the commencement of Step 3.

Step 3 marks the start of the more detailed analysis of the design and of our arguments that support the safety and security features.

A number of technical documents have been uploaded to our website www.ukhpr1000.co.uk, which also provides an opportunity for the public and interested parties to comment on the proposals. All comments and responses are shared with the regulators.

While the ONR and the EA are working together on the GDA, the organisations have set different deadlines for comments to be received by.

The deadline for comments for the ONR is 31 August 2019.

The deadline for comments for the EA is 31 March 2020.

Please visit the regulators’ GDA website for more information.

5. Will the GDA process allow the public to comment?

Yes, we welcome comment from interested parties throughout the GDA process. We will respond to each comment and share all comments and responses with the regulators.

The GDA and comments process runs over several years. This will help ensure that the regulators are satisfied that the HPR1000 meets the UK’s high standard of safety, security and environmental protection and waste management.

We invite members of the public, organisations and institutions with relevant information to submit a comment on our website here. Alternatively, if you wish to submit your comments by post, please put your letter in an envelope marked FREEPOST UKHPR1000 – no further address or stamp is required. Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding submitting comments.

Please bear in mind that we can only formally accept and reply to comments that relate to the GDA of the HPR1000.

For further information please visit the regulators’ website here.

6. Will there be more ways to engage on the GDA or the potential build of the nuclear power station?

In addition to the GDA comments process, the Environment Agency (EA) will run their own consultation on their preliminary conclusions, following detailed assessment of the HPR1000. Further information on the EA’s consultation will be made available through this website and that of the regulators at the relevant time.

Separate to the GDA process, we will seek additional site-specific consents and permits to build a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

One such permit is a development consent order, which requires us to consult on our development proposals, obtaining feedback from interested parties that will be used to inform our final planning application.

We will engage with local communities throughout the process of seeking permission to build Bradwell B. We are at the early stages of the project but in due course as plans develop we will hold formal events where local people can meet the project team and provide their feedback to influence our plans.