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Hopes for Bradwell nuclear power station now fading away like the ebbing tide

Calm After the Storm 3 March 2022

As we emerge from Covid a rather eerie silence descends over Bradwell B. After a tumultuous period of fighting the grotesque prospect of a colossal nuclear power station of Chinese design we are left wondering if the threat is ebbing away or will flow back like the returning tide.

Just two years ago and just before the first frightening lockdown, The Chinese operator launched its pre-Application proposals and the gross scale of the Bradwell B juggernaut was as unexpected as it was threatening. Despite lockdown the local reaction was immediate, widespread and determined. The proposals were summarily repelled and CGN declared a pause and retreated homeward to think again.
At least the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has got part of what it came for. The regulators, Environment Agency and Office for Nuclear Regulation, have gifted approval for the Chinese Hualong One UK HPR1000 reactor design as ‘suitable for deployment in the UK’.

But, not necessarily at the Bradwell site. Although the ultimate prize for CGN is to build its reactors at Bradwell gaining the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) approval is not really much help. It doesn’t tackle the issues of cooling water, long-term storage of radioactive waste or the impacts of climate change in anything like the detail needed to gain approval for the Bradwell site. There are many obstacles that must be surmounted before permission to build can be granted.

Perhaps, as BANNG and other commentators have observed, CGN will have to be content with the consolation prize and seek its fortune elsewhere. That may not be in the UK since it is widely felt that the UK will prevent the Chinese state in the guise of CGN having a strategic role in developing sensitive UK infrastructure like a nuclear power station.

And so there is impasse. Opposed by the local Blackwater communities and shunned by the UK Government Bradwell B seems frozen in aspic. The best that may be said is that CGN may not walk away or be pushed immediately but the project is likely to languish in a state of indefinite inanition and will fade away like the ebbing tide.


March 14, 2022 - Posted by | politics, UK

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