Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear industry Beating Retreat at Bradwell? 21 Sept 22, Recent news received by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities from an Essex resident appears to indicate that the development of a new Chinese-backed nuclear power plant at Bradwell-on-Sea is at a halt.

Like Operation Sealion before it, this unwanted foreign invasion of Southern England seems also to have been indefinitely postponed.

The Bradwell B power station project has been led by majority shareholder, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), a Chinese-state owned energy corporation, with junior partners, French-state owned EDF Energy. CGN owned 66.5% of the equity and EDF Energy the rest. CGN had proposed to install two of its own UK HPR1000 reactors designed specifically for the plant, and the design received approval from the Office of Nuclear Regulation only in February 2022.

However, even before then, things were turning sour for the project. UK – China relations have been on a downward track for many months and Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith described Chinese investors as ‘not trusted vendors’ in Parliament. Giving substance to this sentiment, the Conservative Government passed the National Security and Investment Act, which entered into force in January 2022. This allows Whitehall ‘to intervene in certain acquisitions that could harm the UK’s national security’ such as civil nuclear power plants, and Ministers have frequently talked openly about their determination to terminate Chinese involvement in the Bradwell project.

Householders have now received letters that appear to indicate that the Bradwell B project team is indeed making a withdrawal from the site. Workers will soon be returning to fill in the exploratory boreholes they dug from 2018 to 2020 to conduct ‘early investigative surveys’ into ground conditions. Restorative work will take place from mid-September to make land available once more to enable local farmers to grow crops. And there is news that the project team will be ‘closing the current site compound’ and ‘removing the temporary site offices’ ‘by the end of the year’. Furthermore, there are no plans to ‘conduct further temporary ground investigation and load testing works’, for which planning approval has been granted, in 2023.

Commenting Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, said: “We do not know for certain if the Bradwell B project is finally dead and buried, but the fact that the project team is beating retreat from the site is a clear indication that no work will progress for the foreseeable future.

“Clearly Chinese involvement, which includes the bulk of the equity investment and the employment of a reactor specifically designed for this project, is as dead as the Dodo! It is unlikely that EDF Energy, which is already tens of billions of Euros in debt, will want to take on any further financial liability given its existing heavy involvement in both the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C nuclear power projects, and frankly the appetite of most private investors to back new nuclear projects is almost nil”.

For more information, please contact NFLA Secretary Richard Outram by email on or telephone 07583 097793


September 22, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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