Frequently Asked Questions

Section 1 – About CGN and EDF Energy

1. Who is developing Bradwell B?

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (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 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.

EDF Energy and CGN 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 China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN)?

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) is the world’s largest nuclear power plant builder, a major investor in UK new nuclear, and the largest owner and operator of nuclear power stations in China. As a holding company, CGN has 41 subsidiaries with over 35,000 employees worldwide. The group is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and is established in the UK as General Nuclear International (GNI) Ltd.

Since 2010, CGN has been the world’s largest developer of nuclear power plants. The company has over 30 years’ experience safely delivering nuclear power projects and a long track record of international partnerships.

CGN has 20 nuclear units in operation, with a further 9 units under construction, accounting for 17% of worldwide nuclear build.

CGN is not just a Chinese company, we have operations and partnerships in 16 countries around the world. 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, as well as with combined heat and power plants.

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 partially decommissioned Bradwell nuclear power station in Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex. 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.

To prepare applications for these, a variety of investigative and technical studies to understand the site and surrounding environment in more detail need to be completed.  As part of this, early site investigation and assessment work is required, which CGN and EDF Energy are now beginning to plan and undertake. The results of these will then be used to inform future proposals.

Some of the site specific investigatory activity needs planning approval from Maldon District Council before it can commence. The first planning application for such works was submitted in autumn 2017. For more information see section 5 Investigation Works.

In January 2017, CGN and EDF Energy began a process called the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for the UKHPR1000 nuclear reactor. This process is independently controlled by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency. It ensures that the design of new nuclear power stations proposed to be built in the UK meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management.

3. When will work on Bradwell B be completed?

There is currently no overall defined timeline for the project. But it is a lengthy process over many years and every site and nuclear proposal is different.

4. What is happening at the existing Bradwell station?

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

5. Would Bradwell B be safe?

Yes. Nuclear safety is CGN and EDF Energy’s 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.

6. 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, CGN and EDF Energy will play their 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 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.

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. 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 transport is a key aspect of the transport strategy, e.g. moving materials by boat. Some materials will have to be transported to site by road. Vehicle movements on the local road network would be strictly controlled via the planning process.

Section 3 – Community involvement

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

CGN and EDF Energy 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. CGN and EDF Energy are committed to ensuring local people benefit from the skills and employment opportunities the project could bring. During its operating life, 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.

As an example, Hinkley Point C in Somerset will bring around £40 million into the local economy every year during operation. In total over £15 million has been committed to improve training and skills provision in the local area. When complete, Hinkley Point C will also have an expected workforce of nearly a thousand people who will be needed to run the power station throughout its 60-year operation.

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

At Bradwell B, CGN and EDF Energy 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.

To give an indication of the potential regional benefits, at Hinkley Point C already contracts worth over £465m have been awarded to companies in the region, creating over 660 jobs.

Section 5 – Investigation works

Permission is being sought (autumn 2017) from Maldon District Council to undertake investigative works. The below information relates to this activity. Other investigatory activity is permitted without planning approval and is planned to start autumn 2017.

1. How would the proposed ground works be carried out?

The proposed ground investigations would be carried out in two phases.

In the initial phase, exploratory boreholes would be sunk using a variety of techniques.

A small number of trial pits would also be excavated. Depending upon the findings of this campaign, a second phase of investigation may need to be carried out.

The majority of exploratory holes and all of the pits and observation trenches would be backfilled on completion.

Associated works would include establishment and use of a temporary Site Compound.

2. What environmental reports have been undertaken?

To date, environmental reports on the land, noise, ecology heritage and flood risk have been undertaken.

3. What will the boreholes be used for?

Some boreholes will be used to recover continuous relatively undisturbed core samples of soil and rock for quantitative examination of the stratigraphy and assessment of engineering properties. Sub-samples of the core will also be taken for geotechnical and geological laboratory testing.

4. How deep/wide will the exploratory boreholes be?

The deepest exploratory boreholes will be up to approximately 140m deep, the widest diameter will be approximately 300mm.

5. What will happen after the holes have been drilled?

Following completion of the drilling and testing works most boreholes will be grouted up using an inert cement.  Others will be monitored for groundwater levels or ground movement.

6. How deep/wide will the trial pits be?

Trial pit excavations are used to inspect the surface soils and are envisaged to be 2 to 4m in depth. Trial pits allow examination of the soil conditions and sampling without personnel entering the excavation. The pits would be backfilled when the work is complete.

7. What will the site working hours be?

Working hours would be limited 7am-8pm Mon-Fri and alternate weekends (daylight hours)

Ground investigation activities such as drilling and trial pitting carried out in field locations will be restricted to daylight hours. A 24 hour, 7 days a week security presence may be required, based at the Site Compound.