Bradwell nuclear power station
|Bradwell nuclear power station|
|Owner(s)||Nuclear Decommissioning Authority|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor supplier||The Nuclear Power Group (TNPG)|
|Units decommissioned||2 reactors|
Construction of the power station, which was undertaken by a consortium involving Clarke Chapman, Head Wrightson, C. A. Parsons & Co., A. Reyrolle & Co., Strachan & Henshaw and Whessoe and known as the Nuclear Power Plant Company (NPPC), began in December 1957, and electricity generation started in 1962. It had two Magnox reactors with a design output of 300 MW of net electrical output, although this was reduced to 242 MW net electrical in total as a result of the discovery of breakaway oxidation of mild-steel components inside the reactor vessel. Its peak output, achieved in the early 1960s, was nearly 10% above the design value. On a typical day it could supply enough electricity to meet the needs of three towns the size of Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend put together. It is the closest power station to Southend. The reactors were supplied by The Nuclear Power Group (TNPG), and the 9 turbines and 12 gas circulators by C. A. Parsons & Co. (6 of 52 MW main turbines supplying power to the grid, 3 of 22.5 MW auxiliaries turbines, one for each reactor for driving the gas circulators, with one standby auxiliary turbine).
Bradwell was built on the edge of a former World War II airfield, 1.5 miles from the Essex coastline. Its location was deliberately chosen, as the land had minimal agricultural value, offered easy access, was geologically sound and had an unlimited source of cooling water from the North Sea.
Nuclear fuel for Bradwell was delivered and removed via the nearest railhead, a loading facility adjacent to Southminster railway station on the Crouch Valley line. This included a dedicated siding and a gantry crane.
In 1969, a new Honeywell 316 was installed as the primary reactor temperature-monitoring computer; this was in continuous use until summer 2000, when the internal 160k disk failed. Two PDP-11/70s, which had previously been secondary monitors, were moved to primary.
In 1999, it was announced that the station would cease operation in 2002 – the first UK station to be closed on a planned basis. On 28 March 2002 Lord Braybrooke, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, unveiled a plaque to mark the cessation of electricity generation and the beginning of the decommissioning stage. All spent nuclear fuel was removed from the site by 2005, the turbine hall was demolished in 2011, and by 2016 underground waste storage vaults had been emptied and decontaminated.
In 2007 Bradwell became one of the sites being considered by British Energy for redevelopment in a new round of nuclear reactors. On 18 October 2010, the British government announced that Bradwell was one of the eight sites it considered suitable for future nuclear power stations.
In 2014 The Sunday Times reported that the China General Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear Corporation were preparing preliminary designs for a 3 GW nuclear power station at Bradwell to submit to the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
On 21 September 2015, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced that "China was expected to lead the construction of a Beijing-designed nuclear station at the (Bradwell) Essex site". EDF's chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy stated that the reactor design under consideration is the Hualong One. On 21 October 2015, it was reported that Britain and China have reached Strategic Investment Agreements for three nuclear power plants, including one at Bradwell.
On 19 January 2017, the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation started their Generic Design Assessment process for the Hualong One design, expected to be completed in 2021, in advance of possible deployment at Bradwell. The target commercial operation date is about 2030.
In 1966, twenty natural uranium fuel rods were stolen from Bradwell. The rods were stolen for their scrap value by Harold Arthur Sneath, a worker at the plant. The theft was discovered by the local police when a van driven by Dennis Patrick Hadley, who was transporting the rods to their final destination, was stopped due to its defective steering. The rods were recovered and, in the subsequent court case, Sneath and Hadley were bound over for five years, each fined £100, and were required to contribute to the costs of the court case. Neither was said to have understood the consequences of the theft.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bradwell nuclear power station.|
- British Nuclear Group
- UK operator fined £400,000 for 14-year radioactive leak
- The story of Bradwell Power Station
- Bradwell-on-Sea Power Station, Nuclear Engineering International wall chart, April 1957