Could Hinkley Point delay ‘further the cause’ of new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea?

Bradwell nuclear power station

Bradwell nuclear power station - Credit: Archant

Fresh concerns have been raised about the prospect of a new nuclear power station on the Essex coastline as the government postponed a decision on a plant at Hinkley Point.

A side deal forming part of the wider Hinkley Point package was for French energy firm EDF to transfer its site at Bradwell-on-Sea to a Chinese state-owned firm to build a new station with a new reactor design, with EDF retaining a one-third stake in the project.

Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of the Bradwell Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), said a decision by the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark to further review the project could be a blessing or a curse for Bradwell.

On the one hand any step-down from new nuclear schemes could leave Bradwell dead in the water, whether rejected by the government or too much uncertainty leading investors to pull out.

However he warned if Hinkley Point is rejected it may lead China General Nuclear to look to press ahead – with Bradwell, no Hinkley, becoming Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation.

Prof Blowers said: “The announcement does give a little bit of hope the future is being reconsidered and nuclear is dead in the water, but we are cautious.

“My main fear is that Hinkley Point collapse might further the cause of Bradwell.

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“We shall make the points about Bradwell and continue to fight the proposal.”

He added that previously raised concerns about both the suitability of Bradwell as a site and of Chinese control of a nuclear plant remained.