Assessing new nuclear power station designs: Generic design assessment of General Nuclear System Limited UK Hualong pressurised water reactor (UK HPR1000)

Closed 4 Apr 2021

Opened 11 Jan 2021

Results updated 28 Jul 2021

Introduction

We wanted to hear your views on our preliminary conclusions following our detailed assessment of environmental aspects of the UK HPR1000 new nuclear power station design.

Our consultation does not relate to a specific site. However, the Bradwell B Power Company (BrB) is developing proposals for 2 UK HPR1000s to be constructed at the Bradwell site in Essex, adjacent to the existing Magnox power station. Successfully completing the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) would not mean that BrB can proceed to construction at the site as the company must still secure all relevant permissions for the site before this could begin. We would emphasise that our consultation was not about the need for nuclear power, UK energy policy, policy relating to the siting of nuclear power stations, or the safety and security of the design.

How we ran the consultation

As part of this assessment we consulted on our preliminary conclusions for 12 weeks, from 11 January to 4 April 2021 on GOV.UK and our consultation platform Citizen Space. We carried out a wide range of consultation activities, which can be found on pages 8 to 13 in the document “Responses to the consultation on the generic design assessment of the UK HPR1000”.

Activities included:

  • Publishing our consultation plan in advance of our consultation
  • Emailed contacts on our stakeholder database
  • Added links from our regulators’ joint website
  • Updated local Members of Parliament
  • Advertised the consultation in local print and online newspapers
  • Issued a press release to trade, national and local media and posted on social media
  • Sent posters and GDA information leaflets to parish councils near the Bradwell site with a request to post them on outside noticeboards and other locations that the public were able to use during coronavirus restrictions
  • We ran consultation events online. We also offered telephone appointments to those who did not want to, or couldn’t participate in online events. We provided a post address for those who did not want to, or couldn’t use email or the e-consultation tool

We received 52 responses. You can see a full summary of your responses in our consultation response document. We will carry out an analysis of the topics covered in our final decision document.

We are confident that we did all we reasonably could to consult properly during the period of coronavirus restrictions and that this consultation was accessible to, and targeted at, the people and organisations it was intended for.

Next steps

Our assessment of the UK HPR1000 continues, as does the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR), and we have not yet reached any decisions. We and ONR carry out GDA as a joint project and we will coordinate our decision making.

All responses will be considered in alignment with our regulatory responsibilities and our preliminary conclusions. As a result of the points raised here our preliminary conclusions may be amended and we will update our assessment reports.

We will summarise the responses to our consultation, issues raised and our views on those issues in our decision document. Our consideration of each response received will be included in our final decision document.

We are targeting for the final decision document and updated assessment reports to be published in early 2022, based on the current GDA programme.

Where points raised are outside our responsibilities, we will pass a copy of the consultation response to the appropriate organisation for their consideration. Personal details will not be shared with external organisations.

The final decision document will be published on the GOV.UK website and Citizen Space.

Thank you for participating in our consultation.

Files:

Overview

The government is responsible for the UK's energy policy and its current position is set out in the December 2020 white paper, "Powering our Net Zero Future".  In the white paper, the government highlights the need to address climate change urgently and it sets out the strategy for wider energy systems to achieve the UK's target of net zero emissions by 2050. 

New nuclear power stations are an important part of the government’s strategy to help ensure that we have secure supplies of low carbon electricity in the future.

At the Environment Agency , we have published our own plan, ‘EA2025 creating a better place’, to guide our activities. This plan will act as our compass, enabling us and others to chart a course towards a healthier, greener and more prosperous country in 2025.

Our EA2025 plan sets out 3 main goals:

  • a nation resilient to climate change
  • healthy air, land and water
  • green growth and a sustainable future

Our regulation of nuclear sites aligns with these goals because it helps ensure that these facilities are designed and operated in ways which minimise waste and protect the environment.  

As both regulators of the nuclear industry, we and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) work togther to ensure that any new nuclear power stations built in the UK meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management.

We scrutinise new nuclear power station designs thoroughly, making sure people and the environment are properly protected.

General Nuclear System Ltd (GNSL), is a UK company that is owned jointly by China General Nuclear (CGN) and Electrictie de France (EDF). Both companies are major providers of nuclear technologies, in China and France respectively. CGN has developed and is constructing new nuclear power stations in China using Hualong reactors. The UK HPR1000 power station is based on the Hualong design and has been submitted to the UK nuclear regulators for Generic Design Assessment (GDA). GNSL’s role is to act on behalf of the Requesting Parties (RP), the organisations submitting their reactor designs for this generic design assessment, working directly with the regulators.

A 3D model of how the outside of the structure will look. Consists of a long rectangular building with a round dome at one end and several out buildings all located next to a body of water. Roads connecting the buildings and a wooded landscape next to the main complex - Image copyright of China General Nuclear

An example 3D model of the UK HPR1000 - Image copyright of China General Nuclear

The GDA allows us to begin scrutinising new nuclear power station designs well in advance of construction starting. This means that we can identify any potential design issues at an early stage and ask the reactor design company to address them. This will help to avoid potential costly and time consuming changes when the reactor is being built.

We are asking for your views on our assessment of the UK Hualong pressurised water reactor UK HPR1000 nuclear power station design.

Read our documents – Please see full list of documents below. These can be found in the 'related documents' section at the bottom of the page.

Our preliminary conclusions and supporting reasoning are available in our full consultation document and we welcome your views.

We are also publishing 8 preliminary assessment reports, an independent dose assessment and a short plain English public summary to help inform the consultation, see below for full list of documents.

 

  • Questions raised and answers given during GDA consultation events. FINAL - This document is a record / transcript of questions and answers from online consultation events held during February and March.
  • Consultation summary document - please click here to view HTML link.
  • UK HPR1000 consultation document
  • AR01 - Preliminary detailed assessment of management systems
  • AR02 - Preliminary detailed assessment of strategic considerations for radioactive waste management
  • AR03 - Preliminary detailed assessment of best available techniques (BAT)
  • AR04 - Preliminary detailed assessment of gaseous and liquid discharges of radioactive waste
  • AR05 - Preliminary detailed assessment of solid radioactive waste, spent fuel and disposability
  • AR06 - Preliminary detailed assessment of sampling and monitoring
  • AR07 - Preliminary detailed assessment of the generic site description and the assessment of doses to the public and to wildlife
  • AR08 - Preliminary detailed assessment of other environmental regulations
  • Independent dose assessment to support the Environment Agency's assessment of General Nuclear System Limited's UK HPR1000
  • Generic design assessment leaflet 2021 FINAL
  • GDA UK HPR1000 consultation briefing note FINAL

Online events for the public and local groups

We’ve organised some online events where we will share our findings and you can ask questions.

The events are on Zoom (dial in option also available). You'll receive an email booking confirmation as soon as you book. Closer to the event we will email you with an agenda, detailed joining instructions and the presentations.

23 February 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM – Book here https://www.trybooking.co.uk/XLG

25 February 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM – Book here https://www.trybooking.co.uk/XLH

Why your views matter

We want to hear your views on our preliminary conclusions following our detailed assessment of environmental aspects of the UK HPR1000 new nuclear power station design.

A simplified diagram of the internal workings of the UK HPR1000. Showing the following components: Reactor Vessel, Pressurizer, Steam Generator and Main Pump all housed in the containment Structure. Condenser, Turbine and Generator connected to electricity supply - Image copyright of China General Nuclear

A simplified diagram of the internal workings of the UK HPR1000 - Image copyright of China General Nuclear

Our consultation does not relate to a specific site. However, the Bradwell Power Generation Company Limited is developing proposals for 2 UK HPR1000s to be constructed at the Bradwell site in Essex, adjacent to the existing Magnox power station. The GDA does not mean that Bradwell Power Generation Company Limited can proceed to construction at the site as the company must still secure all relevant permissions for the site before this could begin.

We would emphasise that this consultation is not about the need for nuclear power, UK energy policy, policy relating to the siting of nuclear power stations, or the safety and security of the design.

We can all help to protect and improve the environment by being actively involved. We have deliberately made the GDA process open, transparent and consultative and we would like people to understand our role, what we are doing and why it's important.

This is a public consultation and we welcome everyone’s views. We want to hear from the public, the energy industry, academics interested in nuclear power, energy or the environment, non-governmental organisations and any other organisation or public body.

We would like to find out your views on our preliminary conclusions following our detailed assessment of the environmental aspects of the UK HPR1000 nuclear power station design.

What happens next

By May 2021, we expect to publish a document containing your responses to the GDA consultation for the UK HPR1000 on this consultation’s web page and GOV.UK.

We will carefully consider all the responses to the consultation and complete our detailed assessment. Then we will make our decision on whether or not to issue a statement, or interim statement, of design acceptability for the UK HPR1000.

Together with the ONR, we will carry out the GDA and coordinate our decision making. We will summarise the responses to our consultation, issues raised and our views on those issues. We are aiming to publish our final conclusions in our 'decision document' in early 2022.

Future opportunities to have your say

There will be further consultation on any environmental permit applications for the operation of this design on specific sites. You can read our publication participation document here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-permits-when-and-how-we-consult.

Audiences

  • Academics
  • The nuclear industry
  • Members of the public
  • Non-governmental organisations with an interest in environmental issues

Interests

  • Business and industry
  • Waste
  • Permits
  • Nuclear
  • Environmental permitting