Osborne to sign nuclear plant deal with China: FT

LONDON Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:17am BST

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives to listen to Prime Minister David Cameron's keynote speech to the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, northern England October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives to listen to Prime Minister David Cameron's keynote speech to the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, northern England October 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - British Chancellor George Osborne will sign a deal in China next week allowing a Chinese state-run nuclear power company to help build a new plant in Britain, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.

The paper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said Osborne would sign a memorandum of understanding to back the Chinese General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) entering a deal with France's EDF for a planned new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

The deal would also see Britain back plans for CGNPG to build and help operate a reactor in Britain, while also giving its support to Chinese nuclear technology receiving approval from British regulators, according to the report.

The agreement would also involve CGNPG's rival state-run nuclear company, China National Nuclear Corp, sources told the paper.

However, the FT said allowing Chinese firms to play such a prominent role in Britain's nuclear programme would raise security and safety concerns.

On Thursday, EDF and the British government said talks over financial terms for the new plant at Hinkley, which would be Britain's first new nuclear plant for decades, were continuing.

The two parties have been negotiating for more than a year about fixing a minimum electricity price for power generated at the proposed plant as part of a new energy policy package that aims to reward forms of energy with low carbon emissions.

"A contract will only be offered if it's value for money, fair and affordable, in line with government policy on no public subsidy for new nuclear and consistent with state aid rules," a spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said.

The FT said talks were slowly nearing an agreement, based on a price of 90-92 pounds ($140-$150) per megawattt hour. ($1 = 0.6271 British pounds)

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (13)
Cynicalsam wrote:
It is an absolute disgrace the the British Nuclear Engineering effort for the new power stations at Hinkley point and other sites will be a minor role and subject to French and now Chinese control. Hopefully the Russians and Japanese won’t be involved as their track record for safety is a great cause for concern. Recent reports of corrupt practices in Japanese construction of Fukujima power plant is also a worry. British politics destroyed the nuclear engineering education base, design and manufacturing capability of British companies. Future nuclear power station orders for build and operation will mean vast wealth will go abroad with little benefit to the UK workforce. Decisions by political entities who have never worked in industry or appreciate the importance of the technology have led to the loss of British leadership in this field over the years.

Oct 12, 2013 5:37pm BST  --  Report as abuse
alvarus wrote:
I agree with Cynicalsam about the absolute disgrace part. Sheffield forgemasters asked the government for a loan guarantee to enable them to continue to compete for business for the supply of nuclear power station components. The government turned them down. The UK had the first functioning commercial nuclear power generating station we have a history of successful operation of nuclear plants for many years, throughout the complete life cycle of the plants even with reprocessing expertise. That we have not the capability of building and operating our own plants is clearly disgraceful. We are handing our taxpayers money over to the french and the chinese to ensure future power supplies. We would have engineering companies , employment for our workers and general success for an important sector in manufacturing. We have instead only shame.

Oct 12, 2013 8:19pm BST  --  Report as abuse
mgb500 wrote:
Osborne – you’re a double-chinned TRAITOR!

When the site for shoddy Chinese build is announced – be prepared for MASSIVE protests!!

Oh..and severe radiation leaks – I wouldn’t trust the Chinese to build a meccano set – never mind a nuclear power-plant – you’ve put the UK in line for its own Fukushima!

Oct 12, 2013 9:48pm BST  --  Report as abuse
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