The UK government has requested nuclear regulators to begin the generic design assessment (GDA) process for a UK version of China’s indigenous HPR1000 (Hualong One), a 1000MWe pressurised water reactor.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and Electricite de France (EDF) submitted a joint application to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in October 2016 to begin the GDA process for a  the HPR1000. The reference plant for the design is unit 3 at CGN’s Fangchenggang NPP in China, which is under construction and on schedule.

The UK government said on 10 January 2017 that the GDA marks a first step in the “robust and thorough” process to seek permission to build a nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex. EDF subsidiary General Nuclear Services (GNS) and CGN propose to use the Hualong One design at the proposed Bradwell project, which is in an early pre-planning stage. The project will involve years of investigative works and public consultations before detailed proposals are produced allowing a planning application to be made.

CGN and EDF have been working together for more than 30 years on nuclear development and construction in China. Under a strategic investment agreement signed last October, CGN agreed to take a 33.5% stake in EDF Energy's Hinkley Point C NPP in Somerset, as well as to jointly develop new NPPs at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell. The Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C plants will be based on France's EPR reactor technology.

In a written statement to Parliament, BEIS junior minister Jesse Norman  said the investment by GNS in committing the resources required for the UK HPR1000 reactor to go through the GDA "underlines the fact that international companies continue to view investment in the UK's low-carbon energy future positively". The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) confirmed that it had received the request from government to start the GDA process for the UK HPR1000, which it said will begin once the necessary agreements   have been put in place. The GDA process will take a number of years as there are a number of different consents and permissions required. As well as successful completion of the GDA process, any new NPP must obtain development consent, site licensing and environmental permits.