Chinese deal to build new nuclear plant at Bradwell edges closer

Bradwell Power Station. Picture: Andrew Partridge

Bradwell Power Station. Picture: Andrew Partridge - Credit: Archant

A deal allowing a Chinese power company to take over a site at Bradwell Power Station could be agreed by the Prime Minister next month.

Speculation has been growing that David Cameron could sign an agreement with the Chinese president during a state visit to the UK in October.

The move would be part of a wider package tackling the future of nuclear energy across the country.

It is thought the Bradwell site, next to the former nuclear power station, could be shared with between owners EDF and Chinese firms to build and run a new nuclear plant in return for China’s investment in new nuclear builds at Hinkley Point and Sizewell C.

EDF, which owns each of the sites, has a long-standing partnership with the China National Nuclear Corporation and the China General Nuclear Power Group and has said it is looking to work with them in the UK.

It has been suggested that the Chinese firms could use Bradwell to build a British version of their own reactor design, designed to be more efficient.

Any new design would have to meet strict criteria set by UK regulators.

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The Bradwell Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has already written to the two Chinese firms outlining their opposition to any plans for a new development at Bradwell.

BANNG say that as well as the potential health risks, Bradwell is not a sustainable site due to an increasing flood risk and the lack of sufficient

cooling water from the shallow and slow to refresh Blackwater estuary.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “The UK Government and EDF are continuing to work together to finalise the project.

“The deal must represent value for money and is subject to approval by ministers.”

A civil nuclear co-operation agreement was reached between the UK and China in June 2014.

The expected deal has already attracted criticism due to the future energy subsidies which could be paid to the Chinese firms.