21.09.2015_No177 / News

UK Announces £2 Billion Loan Guarantee For Chinese Investment In Hinkley Point

Plans & Construction

21 Sep (NucNet): UK chancellor George Osborne has today announced that the UK will guarantee a £2bn (€2.7bn, $3.1bn) deal under which China will invest in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Mr Osborne confirmed the guarantee on social media this morning, saying the two planned Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR reactors at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, southwest England, will supply seven percent of the UK’s electricity.

Mr Osborne, who is in China, said the deal would pave the way for a final investment decision on the project by French energy company EDF. He said it would also enable “greater collaboration” between the UK and China on the construction of nuclear stations.

The BBC said Chinese companies would receive “a substantial stake” in the project, with the UK government acting as guarantor for the investment.

Speaking in Beijing at a joint press conference with China’s vice-premier Ma Kai, Mr Osborne said: “We want the UK to be China’s best partner in the West. [This guarantee] paves the way for Chinese investment in UK nuclear [to help provide] secure, reliable, low carbon electricity for decades to come.”

Energy secretary Amber Rudd said the government would continue to work with EDF to finalise the deal for Hinkley Point, which would be the UK’s first new nuclear station since Sizewell B, which began commercial operation 20 years ago, in September 1995.

The UK government agreed in 2013 to proceed with the project and to provide a minimum guaranteed financial return of up to £92.50/MWh for electricity produced over 35 years at the station.

Ms Rudd also told the Financial Times she wanted Beijing to take the lead in developing new nuclear stations in the UK.

She said China was expected to lead the construction of a Beijing-designed nuclear station at Bradwell in Essex.

Earlier this month, EDF said the Hinkley Point project, which was intended to begin commercial operation by 2023, would be delayed. In February, the company said it had pushed back its decision on whether to invest in the station.

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David Dalton

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