HE is the man in charge of a project so divisive, it has seen years of campaigns against it - and they show no sign of abating.

So you might be interested to know Alan Raymant, the new chief executive of Bradwell B power station, not only grew up being able to see the now decommissioned Bradwell A power station from his home but frequently sailed in waters nearby.

The site of the new power station, Bradwell B, lies to the east of the former station which ceased operating in 2002.

The organisations behind the new project - China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF Energy - say it will bring reliable, low carbon energy for years to come as well as generating jobs, skills and investment.

But anti-nuclear protesters, especially those living in Mersea and Brightlingsea, will take some convincing the good outweighs the bad.

Mr Rayment grew up in Brightlingsea but says taking on the role of the proposed power station’s boss was a career choice not a nostalgic one.

He said: “In my kind of career you go where the big projects are.

“Having said that, Bradwell B being so close to where I grew up was a definite bonus in terms of being able to do something so positive for an area I still care very much about.”

Mr Raymant’s connection to the area means he is hopeful the community will get behind the plans.

The 55-year-old added: “I was born and grew up in Brightlingsea and went to Colchester Royal Grammar School for seven years.

“When I was younger I used to do a lot of sailing so I am very familiar with the Blackwater estuary and countryside around.”

Mr Raymant studied chemistry at Cambridge University and went to work in the power industry in research and projects like Bradwell B.


  • Looking from Mersea to Bradwell

In his new role he is working from London but there are plans for a permanent office base near to Bradwell B.

He is nonetheless acutely aware of the controversy the proposed site has engendered.

Not everyone is a fan of nuclear energy nor nuclear power stations and there has been enduring protests about the safety of nuclear power plants, their effect on the environment and the apocalyptic consequences if there was a nuclear disaster.

Particularly outspoken on the former power station’s legacy and the uncertainty over the merits of the new one, is the campaign group, Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (Banng).

It argues despite Bradwell A being decommissioned, it is now “in a state of suspended animation” and the “tricky problems” of final site clearance have been left for future generations to manage – if they can.

Bradwell A is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

But Banngreferences a multitude of issues and incidents during Bradwell A’s operating lifetime including was an undisclosed leak from a sump that continued for 14 years before it was revealed in 2004.


  • The decommissioned Bradwell site

The operator Magnox Electric was found guilty of failing to maintain systems and allowing unauthorised discharges of radioactive waste.

The later stages of decommissioning led to a fuel element debris dissolution experiment which Banng says resulted in discharges of radioactivity and heavy metals into the Blackwater estuary.

Mr Raymant, who now lives in the West Midlands, said he would not comment on what had been “someone else’s operation” but said he had met with members of Banng a few weeks ago.

He said: “I am always keen to maintain a dialogue where we can discuss issues fairly.

“People have concerns about all sorts of things and it is entirely right we should address this.

“They might be misinformed but we are fully committed to addressing concerns.

“Like a lot of things, there are pros and cons.

“The key thing to us is we are clear about the UK need for low carbon power which this will provide and we are committed to transparency and public consultation.

“It is important to us people have the opportunity to express their views and are clearly doing this already.

“We need to take those concerns seriously.

“Some people have suggested things we can work on.”

All nuclear power stations in the UK need to comply with appropriate regulations.

For example, nuclear power stations across the UK are designed to ensure they will be secure against natural hazards that have a frequency of less than one in 10,000 years.

These hazards include tides, storm surges and tsunami as isolated and in-combination events.

Nuclear power stations also stage regular exercises to demonstrate to the regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, there are appropriate arrangements for dealing with emergencies.

EDF Energy also insists as a developer of new nuclear power stations, it will put in place robust plans to manage the waste and spent fuel which is produced.

It adds no power station will be built at Bradwell without such extensive community consultation.

Nor will it be built without planning approval from the Secretary of State, a rigorous process which offers no guarantees to the developer.

The project is still in the early stages - it will be five to six years before construction even starts - and that alone could take seven years.

Mr Rayment said: “The reactor we would like to build at Bradwell can generate approximately 1100MW – this would, therefore, be multiplied by the number of units we build.

“Each reactor is capable of providing enough electricity for over 2 million homes.”

And if granted and built, it is anticipated the station itself would operate for 60 years.

Mr Raymant said: “During the construction phase we would expect 6,000 to 8,000 jobs. Thus would be civil engineering and jobs in mechanical engineering.

“The longer terms aspects - the staff who would operate the power station would be around 700 to 800.”

Mr Raymant said those jobs would create a “longer term legacy” with associated supply chain roles which support the power station in the area.

Bradwell B was first granted permission by the Government in 2011 and Maldon Council allowed the partners to carry out investigative work on the site in December 2017.

Investigative works are underway on the site, where the team behind the project plan to understand how they can minimise its impact on the area, both on and off shore.

The latest surveys kicked off at the beginning of last month.

In the coming months, geophysical, oceanographic and ecological investigations will be carried out offshore involving a number of small boats, which will be profiling the seabed and marine environment, and providing data on the tides and currents.

Preparations will also get underway for further investigative works to take place in the spring and summer.

All of these surveys and investigations will help inform the impact assessment and design of the proposed power station before the community is consulted on initial proposals.

And that is where people power will come into force.