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FAQs

Here are answers to some key questions raised over the course of the GDA process, these include questions put to GNS formally, as well as those which occur regularly throughout the comment process.

If you have a question that has not been addressed as part of our submissions, or feel you can provide information relevant to the assessment, your are invited to submit your comments here.

The Requesting Party

Who is the Requesting Party (RP)?

The Requesting Party for the GDA of the UK HPR1000 is jointly:

  • CGN
  • GNI (UK subsidiary of CGN)
  • EDF

GNS has been established to act on behalf of the Requesting Party and all agreements with the UK regulators will be with GNS. For practical purposes GNS is referred to as the ‘UK HPR1000 GDA Requesting Party’.

Further information can be found on our About us page.

Nuclear

Why do we need nuclear power stations?

The government believes that nuclear energy has an important role to play to deliver our long term objective of a secure, low carbon, affordable, energy future.

This website does not discuss the principles and policies of nuclear power. Further information on the topic can be found on the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy website and on EDF Energy’s website.

Why are EDF and CGN proposing using the UK HPR1000 reactor when the EPR reactor has already passed Generic Design Assessment?

The UK EPRTM and the HPR1000 technologies are different sized reactors; 1630 MW and approximately 1180MW respectively.

Both reactor technologies potentially have a role to play in the mix of energy generation in the UK.

When will the UK HPR1000 nuclear reactor be built?

This is some years away and we will need to secure a number of other consents and permissions before we can build anything. Please refer to our Wider context page for more information.

Is the Chinese reactor design safe?

Yes. China currently safely operates 37 nuclear power stations, 34 of which are pressurised water reactors (PWRs).

The safety of the HPR1000 design has already been established in China and CGN has over 30 years’ experience of designing, constructing and operating nuclear power stations.

The HPR1000 technology will go through the UK’s rigorous Generic Design Assessment regulatory process before it can be used in the UK. The UK EPRTM, which will be used at Hinkley Point and Sizewell (subject to Sizewell receiving the relevant consents), went through this assessment and underwent 850,000 hours of engineering studies. The HPR1000 will face similar scrutiny.

What’s the difference between the HPR1000 and the UK HPR1000?

The HPR1000 reactor technology has been developed in China, based on 3rd generation pressurised water reactor (PWR) technology. The UK HPR1000 would be the UK version of the HPR1000; approved for use by the UK regulators, having completed the GDA process.

Has an HPR1000 reactor been built before?

Construction has already begun on the first HPR1000 reactors in China. These reactor units will have been in operation for several years prior to the HPR1000 being operational in the UK, thereby allowing us to take advantage of the learnings and experience gained.

How much electricity does the HPR1000 produce?

At full power, the HPR1000 reactor produces around 1180MW of electricity – enough to power more than two million homes.

How many power stations are you planning to build in the UK?

CGN, together with EDF Energy, is proposing to build a new nuclear power station using the HPR1000 technology at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

EDF Energy and CGN also plan to build two power stations, each with two UK EPRTM nuclear reactors, at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, subject to the relevant consents, permissions and the right investment framework.

Can I make a comment on nuclear energy on this website?

The principles of nuclear energy are out of scope for comments; this website is specifically for the GDA of the HPR1000 reactor technology. UK energy policy is led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Does the GDA give you permission to build a new nuclear power station at Bradwell B?

We will need other site-related consents and permissions from regulators and government before we can build anything.

We will need to secure regulatory approval and planning permission, including a nuclear site licence, a development consent order and environmental permits. Please refer to our Wider context page for more information.

Who decides when the reactors will be built?

The government has identified eight potential sites around the UK for nuclear development. These sites, as identified in the nuclear national policy statement, are all close to existing licensed sites. More information on the national policy statements can be found on the Government website.

GDA process

The below questions relate to the Generic Design Assessment. You can find more detailed information on the regulators’ website.

What is the Generic Design Assessment (GDA)?

GDA is the process which has been set up by the UK nuclear regulators (the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA)) to assess the safety, security and environmental performance of new nuclear reactor technology.

This process is conducted separately from the site-specific permissions required to construct and operate a new nuclear power station.

Do you have to go through the GDA process?

The GDA is a voluntary process whereby we ask the UK nuclear regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental impact of the HPR1000 technology. We believe that undertaking GDA is the most effective way for the regulators to assess our design, and have voluntarily entered the process.

What is covered by GDA?

The GDA will cover the key structures, systems and components that support safety functions across the site.  It is likely to focus on the Nuclear Island (NI) and hence the reactor building, but will cover many other design features as well.

What is the timescale for GDA?

The GDA is expected to take around five years to complete; it is not time limited, but based on the regulators’ guidance.

What are the benefits of GDA?

The GDA allows us to discuss our designs with the regulators at an early stage of the project development programme.

It will help us to identify and address any potential issues while the power station is still at the proposals stage rather than when construction has begun, or when long lead-in or expensive items have been manufactured.

How does the GDA work?

The GDA process will look at the safety, security and environmental aspects of the HPR1000 reactor design. The process has a number of steps, with the assessments getting increasingly detailed. As the Requesting Party, we will submit certain documents to the regulators for review at each stage. Following their assessment at the end of each stage, the regulators will publish reports on their findings and highlight any concerns or technical issues that have been raised.

Does the GDA give the go ahead for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell?

We will need other site-related consents and permissions from regulators and government before we can build anything.

We will need to secure regulatory approval and planning permission, including a nuclear site licence, a development consent order and environmental permits. Please refer to our Wider context page for more information.

Who pays for GDA?

We, as the Requesting Party, will pay for the GDA assessment and all related costs.

Under what circumstances would a GDA not be successfully completed?

A GDA will not be successfully completed if we do not provide enough information to the regulators, or if their assessment identifies any significant safety, environment or security issues which can’t be resolved.

Comments process

Will the GDA process allow the public to comment?

Yes, we welcome comments from interested parties throughout the GDA process. We will respond to each comment and share all comments and responses with the regulators.

The GDA and comments process runs over several years. This will help ensure that the regulators are satisfied that the HPR1000 meets the UK’s high standards of safety, security and environmental protection and waste management.

Who can make a comment on the GDA process via this site?

Anybody is welcome to make a comment. We invite members of the public, organisations and institutions with relevant information to submit a comment here. Please bear in mind that we can only formally accept and reply to comments that relate to the GDA of the HPR1000.

Can I make a comment about the use of nuclear power at Bradwell?

The comment facility on this website is specifically for the GDA of the UK HPR1000. UK energy policy is led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and more information can be found on their website.

Will there be more ways to engage on the GDA or the potential build of the nuclear power station?

In addition to the GDA comments process, the Environment Agency will run their own consultation on their preliminary conclusions, following detailed assessment of the HPR1000. Further information on the EA’s consultation will be made available through this website and that of the regulators at the relevant time.

Separate to the GDA process, we will seek additional site-specific consents and permits to build a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

One such permit is a development consent order, which requires us to consult on our development proposals, obtaining feedback from interested parties that will be used to inform our final planning application. Further information can be found on the Bradwell B project website.