The government is facing fresh calls to review the involvement of China’s state nuclear group in the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative party leader, and Helena Kennedy QC urged ministers to “urgently clarify the status of CGN’s involvement” in the £23 billion project in Somerset, due to generate first power by 2026. CGN has a one-third stake and has staff on the ground working alongside the lead developer EDF of France. In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, Duncan Smith and Baroness Kennedy write: “Allowing CGN to continue playing a major role in the UK’s power grid grants the Chinese government a significant point of leverage and constitutes a key vulnerability at the heart of our national infrastructure.” They write on behalf of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party coalition including 46 British parliamentarians who want democratic countries to take a tougher stance on Beijing.
Times 28th July 2021 read more »
The Government is likely to become responsible for a huge bill for building Hinkley C power station. This is despite an insistence by the UK Government since they signed a deal with EDF to build Hinkley C in 2012 that electricity consumers will not have to pay for cost overruns for the project. Yet it is now looking increasingly likely that this will end up being the case. When the deal was signed in 2012 the Government agreed to pay a much higher than expected £92.50 per MWh (in 2012 prices), this price to be paid by consumers in their electricity bills (over twice the price given to recent offshore wind projects). The Government claimed that there would be no bail-out if the project experienced large cost overruns since the risk was borne by the holders of the share capital, EDF and also the Chinese state nuclear company, CGN. CGN holds around one third of the equity in Hinkley C. But now there are mounting pressures on the Government to ensure that, for political and security reasons, China (through CGN) is not allowed to build its own nuclear design at Bradwell in Essex. But now there are mounting pressures on the Government to ensure that, for political and security reasons, China (through CGN) is not allowed to build its own nuclear design at Bradwell in Essex. Yet CNG only agreed to finance Hinkley C (and also in a similar fashion the planned Sizewell C project in Sufflok) on the basis that it was going to get the chance to showcase its own ‘Hualong’ nuclear plant at Bradwell. If China’s Bradwell ambitions are thwarted then they will certainly pull out of the Sizewell C project and also do as much as is legally possible to forshorten their risks and responsibilities at Hinkley C. The Government is likely to have to take on big liabilities in the case of Hinkley C – that is against a long succession of pronouncements by Government ministers over the past nine years. Some are even urging the Government to take over all of CGN’s shareholdings in Hinkley C. But even if the Chinese company cannot reclaim the money it will have spent on the project so far, if CGN is denied the opportunity to build at Bradwell they are very likely to refuse to pay for any cost overruns at Hinkley C (as well as pull out of Sizewell C). This means that the UK Government will have to take on the liability of future cost overruns, and maybe end up in a major row with China about financial compensation.
100% Renewables 28thy July 2021 read more »
Gloucester-based energy firm EDF will be watching Government announcements regarding the future of the flagship Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project, as Chinese involvement comes under renewed scrutiny. Whitehall sources, The Telegraph is reporting, are indicating that the £23bn project underway in Somerset could be jeopardised by plans to block China General Nuclear (CGN) from future UK projects. The Hinkley reactor, part of the UK’s fresh push for nuclear power, is being partly funded by CGN in association with the French owned EDF.
Punchline Gloucester 27th July 2021 read more »
Reports say government is looking to keep state-owned energy company out of financing future schemes Nuclear projects in the UK including Hinkley Point C could be at risk with the government looking to bar China’s state-owned energy company from being involved in future projects. According to the Times, ministers are considering alternatives to the involvement of China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) in the £20bn Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk.
Building 27th July 2021 read more »