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China hails Hinkley nuclear contract signing
September 30, 2016, 3:00 pm

Chairman and CEO of French energy company EDF Jean-Bernard Levy, British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark, chairman of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) He Yu attend a signing ceremony in London [Xinhua]

Chairman and CEO of French energy company EDF Jean-Bernard Levy, British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark, chairman of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) He Yu attend a signing ceremony in London [Xinhua]


After a two-month delay, Chinese, French and UK officials signed the contract for a $23.4 billion Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station to be built in Somerset, England.

London gave approval for the contract on September 15.

China’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the approval issuing a statement which said that “the Chinese side welcomes the British government’s decision to approve the project, as it serves all parties’ interests”.

On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang hailed the HPC project as an important step forward in international cooperation by China, Britain and France in the spirit of mutual benefit.

He said that Beijing is looking forward to joint endeavors with London and Paris to “ensure smooth implementation of the HPC project and other nuclear energy cooperation projects agreed upon by the three parties”.

The HPC contract, which involves building a 3,200-Megawatt nuclear power plant consisting of two third generation pressurized water reactors to power some six million homes, was put on hold by UK Prime Minister Theresa May in July.

Having just come to office, May said she wanted more time to study the details of the agreement – such as China’s General Nuclear Corporation’s (CGN) one-third investment in the project and it’s joint work with French energy company EDF.

The Chinese firm will also take a two-thirds stake in the Bradwell nuclear plant east of London, where it plans to build a Chinese-designed reactor, and a one-fifth stake in a project for Areva -designed reactors at the Sizewell plant.

The Chinese investment in the project was confirmed during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to London in October 2015. That visit ushered in a “golden era” of enhanced Chinese-UK trade and investment.

Some in the British government had previously cited security concerns about letting China gain a “nuclear foothold” in the UK and Europe.

But Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming previously wrote in the local press there that regulatory authorities are “experienced and adequately resourced” to ensure the safety of nuclear plants.

“The three Hinkley Point partners are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” he said. “So, the French and Chinese partners are subjecting themselves to both international and British standards.”

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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