Bradwell nuclear power station

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Bradwell nuclear power station
Bradwell power station.jpg
Bradwell Power Station
Bradwell nuclear power station is located in Essex
Bradwell nuclear power station
Location of Bradwell nuclear power station in Essex
Country England
Location Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex
Coordinates 51°44′29″N 0°53′49″E / 51.74139°N 0.89694°E / 51.74139; 0.89694Coordinates: 51°44′29″N 0°53′49″E / 51.74139°N 0.89694°E / 51.74139; 0.89694
Status Decommissioned
Construction began 1957
Commission date 1962
Decommission date 2002
Owner(s) Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Operator(s) Magnox Ltd
Nuclear power station
Reactor type Magnox
Reactor supplier The Nuclear Power Group (TNPG)
Power generation
Units operational Parsons
Units decommissioned 2 reactors
242 MW

Bradwell nuclear power station is a partially decommissioned Magnox power station located on the Dengie peninsula at the mouth of the River Blackwater, Essex.


The two Magnox reactor buildings in 2010 from the entrance road.

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'),[1] 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 megawatts (MW) net electrical in total.[2] 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. The reactors were supplied by The Nuclear Power Group ('TNPG') and the 9 turbines & 12 Gas Circulators by C. A. Parsons & Co.[3](6off 52MW Main Turbines supplying power to the grid, 3off 22.5MW 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, one and a half 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.

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.[4]

Future plans[edit]

Bradwell was one of the sites being considered by British Energy for redevelopment in a new round of nuclear reactors.[5]

On 18 October 2010, the British government announced that Bradwell was one of the eight sites it considered suitable for future nuclear power stations.[6]

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.[7]

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".[8][9] EDF's chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy stated that the reactor design under consideration is the Hualong One.[10] The reactor design will first have to pass the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation Generic Design Assessment process.[11]

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.[12]

Safety record[edit]

In 1966, twenty natural uranium fuel rods were stolen from Bradwell.[13] 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, fined £100 each, and were required to contribute to the costs of the court case. Neither were said to have understood the consequences of the theft.[14]

On 22 January 2011, a fire broke out during the decommissioning work as titanium condenser tubes were being cut up. No radiation was released from this fire.[15]


  1. ^ The UK Magnox and AGR Power Station Projects
  2. ^ "Bradwell - Facts and figures". Magnox Ltd. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Nuclear Power Plants in the UK - England
  4. ^ "Nuclear Power Plant Closes". BBC Online. 28 March 2002. 
  5. ^ "British Energy eyes nuclear sites". BBC Online. 27 November 2007. 
  6. ^ "Nuclear power: Eight sites identified for future plants". BBC News (BBC). 18 October 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Chinese nuclear plans for Bradwell power station could be 'catastrophic'". Essex Chronicle. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "UK guarantees 2bn nuclear plant deal as China investment announced". BBC. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  9. ^ George Parker (21 September 2015). "UK paves path for west's first China-designed nuclear reactor". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Geert De Clercq (23 September 2015). "Only China wants to invest in Britain's new££2bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant because no one else thinks it will work, EDF admits". The Independent. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "China ready to build new nuclear plant at Bradwell-on-Sea". Essex Chronicle. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins. Brittle Power (PDF). Brick House Publishing Company. p. 146. ISBN 0-931790-49-2. 
  14. ^ "Uranium theft not sinister". Burnham on Crouch and Dengie Hundred Advertiser (Essex record office). February 1967. 
  15. ^ "Bradwell nuclear power station hit by fire". BBC News. 21 January 2011. 

External links[edit]