This Chinese Nuclear Firm Expects the Go-Ahead for Another Plant in Britain

September 30, 2016, 8:11 AM UTC
British Government Signs A Deal For New Nuclear Power Plant
BRIDGWATER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: The sun sets behind Electricite de France SA's (EDF) (L) Hinkley Point B, and (R) Hinkley Point A nuclear power stations besides the Bristol Channel near Bridgwater on November 12, 2013 in Somerset, England. EDF, who last month announced it was to construct a new plant at Hinkley Point after reaching a deal with the U.K. government, said today that energy bills will rise by 3.9 percent on average. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Matt Cardy/ Getty Images

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) expects its plans for a new China-led nuclear power plant in Britain to win government approval within five years, the firm’s chairman said in comments reported by state media late on Thursday.

He Yu said his company would start preparing for a plant in Bradwell-on-Sea in southeast England, after Britain agreed to build its first new nuclear power station in decades with China in a $24 billion deal signed earlier in the day.

“CGN is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the power system, site conditions, project plan and investment of the Bradwell B power plant,” he said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

“We will officially submit our materials for the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) immediately after the signing of the contract with French company EDF to gain approval for construction.”

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He also said that he did not think that the British government’s new security policies concerning foreign investment in nuclear power plants conflicted with his company’s management, investment and profit-sharing policies.

The future of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant was uncertain for a while after British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed the project over concerns about the security implications of Chinese involvement. The deal was eventually signed behind closed doors, reflecting her cautious approach to the project.

The plant will now be built in southwest England by France’s EDF with $8 billion of cash from China. It marks the first project investment by a Chinese nuclear firm in a developed economy.

In the works for more than a decade, the deal – the first in a series of new nuclear projects in Britain – is part of a recovery of the global nuclear power industry following a slump caused by the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.