A MAJOR milestone has been reached for a nuclear reactor intended for a new power plant in Essex, but campaigners say the approval shouldn't be seen as a go-ahead for the plant.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) have confirmed the UK HPR1000 nuclear reactor is suitable for construction in the UK after completion of an in-depth assessment of the design, marking the end of a five year process.

The technology has been developed by China General Nuclear Group (CGN) and its adaptation to the UK has been jointly performed by CGN and EDF.

It is intended to be used in their Bradwell B project.

READ MORE: Bradwell B marks 'milestone' after reactor technology comments process ends

However. the approval by the regulators should not be read as a go-ahead for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell, according to the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG).

Prof. Andy Blowers, BANNG’s chairman, said: "This absolutely does not give a green light for reactors to be built at Bradwell.

"And, given the problems of the Bradwell site and the fierce local opposition, CGN would surely struggle to gain the permits, licences and planning permission that it will need over coming years.

"Much better for it to try its luck elsewhere."

READ MORE: Campaigners reject Maldon MP's claims Essex site is suitable for nuclear plan

Prof. Blowers said the approval does not recognise the "serious long-term risks" the impacts of climate change pose to "people and environments from reactors and radioactive waste stores on vulnerable low-lying coasts threatened by flooding, storm surges and sea level rise".

He added: "If Bradwell B ever comes to pass, the ONR and EA will have to grant permits and licenses and we must hope that they will then apply their ‘rigorous and detailed asesssment’ to the issues of radioactive waste, decommissioning, cooling, environmental impact and climate change at the Bradwell site. 

"It would be incredible if the regulators did not conclude the site was wholly unsuitable for the development of mega reactors. But let’s not hold our breath on that."