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Chinese company likely to be glad to abandon UK’s Hinkley and Bradwell nuclear power projects, as costs jump.

 China could quit UK nuclear projects if role threatened, experts warn.
Effort to remove state-owned CGN from Sizewell C said to leave Hinkley
Point and Bradwell developments exposed. China General Nuclear is likely to
walk away from the Hinkley Point C power station being built in Somerset if
the Chinese state-owned nuclear company is forced out of other future
projects in the UK, industry experts warned on Monday.

The company is already a minority investor in the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley Point nuclear power
station, which France’s EDF is building. One nuclear industry executive
warned that CGN could now reassess its involvement with Hinkley Point.

They pointed out there were four interlinked agreements between CGN, EDF and the
government dating to 2015: Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Bradwell and the
pursuit of regulatory approval for China’s reactor design.

Steve Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy at University of Greenwich, said
CGN’s investment in Hinkley was designed to make a profit and also help
secure its plant at Bradwell. With both of those now in jeopardy, the
company could quit the UK, he warned.

The Chinese company is eager to getUK regulatory approval at Bradwell for its own Hualong One HPR1000 reactor in order to help market it in other countries. The reactor design is
currently going through the UK’s rigorous approval process with a
decision expected in the second quarter of next year.

 But Thomas pointed out that with Hinkley’s budget having jumped from
£14bn to as much as £22.5bn it was no longer clear whether the consortium
would make a profit. “I would have thought that would put it into
lossmaking territory,” he said.

“They may well be very happy for an
excuse to get out of it,” Thomas said. “If Bradwell is off the agenda
and Hinkley Point won’t make money, why stick around?” Alison Downes of
Stop Sizewell C, a pressure group, said the government’s position threw
EDF’s funding problems for the new plant into sharper relief: “The
simple fact is that Sizewell C won’t go ahead without new investors,”
she said.

 FT 27th July 2021

July 29, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, China, UK

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