BEIJING (Reuters) - Great Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union will bring uncertainties to nuclear cooperation among Britain, China and France, an executive at China’s CGN Power Co Ltd (1816.HK) said on Friday.
CGN is awaiting regulatory approval to build two of its own nuclear reactors in Britain and has provided a third of the financing for the construction of two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point in order to secure future projects in the country.
Britain, which is currently negotiating its divorce from the European Union, has stressed that it will be business as usual for the Hinkley Point reactors, although some industry officials say a potentially weaker pound following the country’s EU exit could raise construction costs.
Britain will also leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which some exports have said could raise costs, delay new nuclear power projects and complicate research and international cooperation agreements.
“Brexit will create some uncertainties,” CGN Senior Vice President Zheng Dongshan said at an industry event.
“The UK government announced also that it would leave Euratom. How this project will go ahead smoothly, how we will have as good a relationship as we have now - this is the first challenge,” he said.
He also noted that the UK regulatory environment was very different from China, and even from France.
“It is very stringent on nuclear safety. It is a challenge for EDF and for the Chinese team in this environment, not only to fulfil our project targets, but also on nuclear safety and quality and to deliver the project successfully.”
“Certainly, the project itself will face some risks in costs, in terms of planning,” Zheng said.
Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Richard Pullin