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Will British taxpayers end up bankrolling Sizewell C nuclear power project ?


The flagship of Britain’s new nuclear power fleet is under threat as the
Government prepares curbs on Chinese involvement in critical national
infrastructure. Whitehall sources admitted last night that the £23bn
Hinkley Point C project underway in Somerset could be jeopardised by plans
to block China General Nuclear (CGN) from future UK projects.

The Hinkley reactor, Britain’s first in a generation, is being partially bankrolled by
CGN as part of a wider deal with French company EDF to replace the UK’s
aging nuclear plants. Under Government proposals which have not been
officially confirmed, CGN’s involvement in subsequent planned projects, in
Suffolk and Essex, would end. Government insiders said that there are
concerns this could disrupt the linked deal under which CGN is developing
Hinkley, where work is already significantly advanced.

Ministers are preparing to introduce legislation to Parliament that would allow nuclear
power developers to recoup costs from household bills. This could spark a
significant backbench rebellion from MPs concerned about China if CGN is
involved. Industry sources also suggested that EDF would find it easier to
court pension funds and other institutional investors without the political
risk of a major Chinese state partner.

CGN owns about a third of Hinkley Point C and has a 20pc development phase stake in Sizewell C, with an
option to participate in the construction phase. Its own reactor design for
Bradwell is going through UK regulatory approval, with CGN hoping it can
then export this technology more widely. The Times reported last night that
the Government is considering buying an equity stake in Sizewell C as part
of its moves to replace CGN, reversing a long-standing wish to keep nuclear
build off the Government balance sheet.

 Telegraph 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 - Posted by | politics, UK

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