Published On: Sun, Oct 18th, 2015

Deal Between China And EDF May Be Agreed For British Nuclear Plant

Hinkley Point

Aerial view of proposed Hinkley Point C powerstation

With the upcoming visit to Britain from President Xi Jinping this week it’s expected that there is likely to be an announcement of a new deal between EDF (Electricite de France) and it’s Chinese partners for the UK’s first new nuclear power station in decades.

Jean-Bernard Levy, The Chief Executive of EDF said the company is currently in final negotiations with its Chinese partners however stated he did not want to predict what may happen on Tuesday and Wednesday during the visit of President Xi Jinping.

“If all goes well, we will be able to announce major news in coming days; the first nuclear new-build in Europe since the Fukushima accident,” Levy said on iTELE television channel.

Britain pledged £2 billion last month for the nuclear plant to ensure it meets the country’s energy needs as existing coal and nuclear plants are decommissioned and as North Sea oil reserves decline.

Hinkley Point is planned to feature the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a third-generation reactor design which is claimed to be the safest and most advanced in the world.

It is expected that the Chinese companies are to largely finance and receive ownership of around 40 percent in the nuclear plant which the government hopes will generate 7 percent of Britain’s electricity. EDF does not have the finance to fund such a large project and is relying on the Chinese to agree to the investment allowing for the project to move ahead.

The Chief Executive of EDF in the UK, Vincent de Rivaz told the Financial Times earlier this month “my hope is that our Chinese partners can take the right decision and will seize the day. The ball is in their court.”

EDF already has an established relationship with the CGN in building two EPR reactors at Taishan making Hinkley Point a strengthening of their partnership which the French group hopes will open wider the doors to the huge Chinese market.

“Nuclear energy is an option that cannot be overlooked. The country (China) has 50 reactors of which 25 are under construction, representing the majority of nuclear plants being built in the world,” said Herve Machenaud, a spokesman for EDF in China.

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