December 12 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Sizewell C moved a step closer today after Government announced the go-ahead to Chinese companies taking a stake in the development of the next generation of British nuclear power.
No deal has been struck as yet, but a Memorandum of Understanding on civil nuclear collaboration has been signed which paves the way for closer links and the start of detailed negotiations.
The memorandum sets the strategic framework for collaboration on investment, technology, construction and expertise.
Chancellor George Osborne made the announcement at Taishan nuclear power station in Southern China on the final day of his visit to China.
Taishan is a collaboration between French energy company EDF and the China General Nuclear Power Company.
While any initial Chinese stake in a nuclear power project is likely to be a minority stake, over time stakes in subsequent new power stations – such as Sizewell – could be majority stakes.
The announcements come on the day talks on pay and conditions for workers who will build the new multi-billion-pound power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset will be held amid speculation that the project is about to receive the final go-ahead.
The Government is expected to announce – also possibly today – that agreement has been reached with French energy giant EDF over the price paid for generating electricity from the Hinkley Point site.
This is expected to lead to a similar agreement for Sizewell C, which would move the building of the proposed plant closer.
A spokeswoman for EDF said the company could not comment further on the Sizewell situation at this stage.
Mt Osborne said: “Today is another demonstration of the next big step in the relationship between Britain and China – the world’s oldest civil nuclear power and the world’s fastest growing civil nuclear power.
“It is an important potential part of the government’s plan for developing the next generation of nuclear power in Britain. It means the potential of more investment and jobs in Britain, and lower long-term energy costs for consumers.”
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, said: “This is another significant step forward in demonstrating our commitment to delivering our new nuclear programme.”
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey said: “This is an exciting development, strengthening our relationship with China in a way that will benefit both countries. Investment from Chinese companies in the UK electricity market is welcome, providing they can meet our stringent regulatory and safety requirements.”
South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo said it was “perfectly acceptable” that Chinese investors could contribute to the new nuclear power stations.
He said: “The other implication of this, of course, is it may then move us a step closer to getting a new power station in Sizewell. It will be good for Suffolk and from it would stem investment in transport, jobs and possibly new housing.”