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Doubts about China, France involved in UK’s new nuclear programme

Should China be involved in the UK’s nuclear energy infrastructure? Guardian UK, Paul Dorfman, 21 Sept 12 A more responsible way forward to this ethically questionable strategy can be found with Germany’s energy policy Government officials have been in Beijing this week with their Chinese counterparts for an “unprecedented” collaboration on energy . On the table was new nuclear power, and its role in moving the UK to a low-carbon economy.

So far, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has been relentlessly optimistic about new nuclear, and hopes that its electricity market reform plans for a draft energy bill will do the trick, despite strong and sustained criticism from a parliamentary select committee on energy, and more recently a House of Lords working group who conclude  that the reforms are “unworkable”. But Decc is still loyal to the nuclear project and hopes the financial support implied in these market reforms will attract foreign investment.

France’s state nuclear corporation EDF and their UK junior partner, Centrica, have been centre stage in this nuclear fiscal drama. Centrica appears increasingly lukewarm, and City insiders doubt whether it will maintain a 20% stake in the nuclear consortium. Centrica’s potential departure could have something to do with the economics of nuclear power, with construction costs more than doubling from €3bn to over €6bn – and rising for each of the French-designed European pressurised reactors being built in Finland at Olkiluoto, and Flamanville in France.

Separately, since Germany’s RWE and E.ON in March pulled out of the UK’s second nuclear consortium, Horizon Nuclear Power, two Chinese nuclear state corporations, China Guangdong Nuclear Power and State Nuclear Power Technology, are considering taking on the consortium. Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, has also expressed an interest in the UK nuclear market.

At this point, it’s worth looking at the underlying business ethics of the Russian and Chinese nuclear industries, and questioning the wisdom of their strategic involvement in key UK energy infrastructure……


September 22, 2012 - Posted by | politics international, UK

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on NuclearVox.

    Comment by nuclearvox | September 23, 2012 | Reply

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