UK paves path for west’s first China-designed nuclear reactor
Financial Times, George Parker, Beijing & Christopher Adams, London– 21/09/2015.Additional reporting by Lucy Hornby and Conor Sullivan
“The UK has opened the way for the first Chinese-designed nuclear power plant in the west, saying Beijing could use Britain to launch a global rollout of its technology. Amber Rudd, energy secretary, said she wanted Beijing to take the lead in developing new nuclear plants in Britain. She said China was expected to lead the construction of a Beijing-designed nuclear power plant in Essex, in eastern England, its first in the west, under a proposed joint deal with EDF, the French energy group, to build a new generation of UK reactors.”- George Parker & Christopher Adams (2015, September 21st). UK paves path for west’s first China-designed nuclear reactor. Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/global-economy/uk..
According to the Financial Times in an interview with Amber Rudd; the energy Secretary during a visit to Beijing has said, because of tough regulations in the UK, China want to get their design into the UK to grow confidence in their safety and operations. During the same visit George Osborne announced a £2bn government guarantee for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in South- west England. Mr Osborne said the £24.5bn project would “open the door to unprecedented co-operation” between the UK and China on more Nuclear stations reported by the Financial Times.
The UK governments move to build commercial ties with China has met somewhat of a cooler reception from some of its Western allies after Mr Osborne became a founding member of its new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. However a resolute Mr Osborne has said “No economy in the world is as open to Chinese investment as the UK” according to the Financial Times.
China will definitely play a part in Britain’s nuclear power stations according to Ms Rudd reported by the Financial Times. There are five nuclear power stations planned in the short term. French and Japanese designs are also said to be in the mix.
According to the Financial Times, President Xi Jinping is to undertake a state visit to London in October and it is hoped that a final investment decision on Hinkley Point will be made in time for that visit. The £2bn guarantee is intended to bring talks between EDF and its Chinese partners to a head to finalise a deal on funding. The £2bn guarantee could rise if specific conditions are met by EDF.
“The pact between Britain, France and China would see Beijing help pay for Hinkley and a second nuclear plant at Sizewell, in Suffolk, in return for taking a controlling stake in Bradwell, in Essex which would be the first Chinese-built and operated reactor in the west”– George Parker & Christopher Adams (2015, September 21st). UK paves path for west’s first China-designed nuclear reactor. Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/global-economy/uk. .
Hinkley is one of few, new reactors being built in Europe and will supply 7 per cent of the UK’s Electricity once built however a 2023 completion date has been dropped according to the Financial Times.
Negotiations are still underway regarding spending and the roles, China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation will play in the construction of up to three plants, reported by the Financial Times.
“It is thought they are looking at an approximately 60:40 split of the investment in Hinkley, with EDF holding the controlling share, after possible minority investors, such as Saudi Electric, stayed out. Other partners could come in later but only after the project gets under way” – George Parker & Christopher Adams (2015, September 21st). UK paves path for west’s first China-designed nuclear reactor. Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/global-economy/uk. .