Chinese Nuclear Investment
CHINA’S nuclear giants are poised to hire new advisers as talks over plans to build a Beijing-designed atomic reactor in Britain reach a critical stage. Last year the UK government struck a deal with France’s EDF and two Chinese developers, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), to underwrite a pair of reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset with decades in guaranteed subsidies. The £16bn project hinged on two conditions: approval from Brussels that the agreement doesn’t violate state-aid rules; and permission for the Chinese to build their own plant on UK soil. The Chinese have pledged to buy up to 40% of Hinkley. Negotiations on both points have reached a critical stage. It is understood that the Chinese are close to appointing Rothschild, the investment bank, to nail down the final details. Sources close to the talks are confident that Brussels will give the green light [to the Hinkley deal] by October, which would pave the way for a final investment decision before the end of the year. In parallel, the Chinese are negotiating with EDF to buy one of the sites designated by the government for new atomic stations. Just one reactor design, the French EPR, has won approval. Beijing wants to get its own approved but the process would take several years.