China seeks UK nod for nuclear tech
Power plant design would get boost if it passes stringent approval process
China will submit its indigenous nuclear technology to the UK government’s rigorous General Design Assessment with a view to getting approval in five years — and to use it to build a power station at Bradwell, on the east coast of England.
The announcement by China General Nuclear Corp Chairman He Yu was made on Thursday.
It came just after CGN, the French utility EDF and the UK government signed a final agreement on the UK’s 18 billion pound ($23.4 billion) Hinkley Point power plant, giving it the definitive green light. CGN will finance one-third of that investment.
The Hinkley Point project is seen as a gateway for plans to introduce Chinese nuclear technology.
If completed on time, the planned Bradwell plant would be the first nuclear project in a developed market to use a Chinese design.
Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, said Hinkley Point is a flagship project for China-UK collaboration, and is a “golden fruit” to confirm China and the UK’s golden era of cooperation.
“We are hopeful China’s own technology, Hualong One, will pass GDA. That will signify China’s nuclear power really has gone global.”
As part of the contracts signed on Thursday, CGN and EDF would also jointly invest in the Sizewell and Bradwell proposed UK nuclear projects. CGN would be the majority shareholder in Bradwell, which plans to use China’s third generation nuclear technology Hualong One.
Being the majority investor in Bradwell, with a 66.5 percent share, means CGN will bear responsibility for the project, and its financial returns will be higher, He said.
Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said in a brief statement,
“Signing the Contract for Difference for Hinkley Point C is a crucial moment in the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation and follows new measures put in place by government to strengthen security and ownership.
“Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear power stations like Hinkley play an important part in ensuring our future low-carbon energy security.”
The UK’s General Design Assessment, which determines if a new nuclear technology can be used in Britain, is known to be the world’s most rigorous. Currently, only France’s European Pressurized Reactor design has GDA approval. The US’ AP1000 technology is still pending GDA approval. France’s EPR model is being used for Hinkley Point.
“Once Hualong One passes GDA, it will boost more countries’ confidence and push forward Hualong One’s global market development,” He said.
Bradwell’s technology will be modeled on that of Hualong One deployed at the Guangxi Fangchenggang Phase II power station.
CGN established a GDA project department in February last year to work on the regulatory process. Technical preparation for the GDA assessment process was completed by July this year.