Hinkley Point: Chinese state power companies bidding for stakes
Chinese state power companies are said to be in talks to take as much as a 30 per cent stake in the new Hinkley C nuclear power plant project from French energy giant EDF.
Almost a third of the £10billion project is up for grabs according to reports in the Sunday press yesterday.
EDF Energy, which owns and operates eight of the UK’s existing ten nuclear power stations is proposing a new twin-reactor plant at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast.
The company said yesterday: “We have said for some time that we were open to the idea of other investment partners and as we approach our final investment decision, it is right to consider funding options.
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“The project is advancing well and has achieved a level of maturity to make it attractive to potential new investors.”
EDF has declined to discuss the identities of possible partners, but in the most detailed leaks to emerge from the nuclear industry, well-placed sources say EDF has been in discussion with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation, and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation.
The corporations, which are rivals, have also each joined with Western consortia to try to buy the Horizon Nuclear Power company from RWE and E.O.N. Horizon owns sites at Oldbury, South Gloucestershire and Wylfa on Anglesey. Industry sources told the Sunday Times that if one of the rivals is chosen for Hinkley it is likely to end its bid for Horizon.
The Infrastructure Planning Commission has yet to deliver its verdict on EDF’s planning application for Hinkley C.
EDF is also awaiting the outcome of talks with the Department for Energy and Climate Change over wholesale power prices for nuclear energy before making a final decision.
EDF has committed to major new spending on French reactors demanded by the French Government in the wake of the Fukushima crisis last year.
Earlier this year it signed a £100million contract with Keir/BAM Buttall for preliminary works for Hinkley C. It is also investing in a £15 million training base at Bridgwater.
If the ten-year project goes ahead it will create the biggest construction site in Europe.
Local councils and communities are still fighting to win fair community benefit for hosting the plant for the next 60 years, and playing host to its waste for more than 100 years.
West Somerset Council, in whose district Hinkley Point lies, and Sedgemoor District Council, in whose area much of the potential traffic problems and pressure for housing lie want the Government to direct the plant’s business rates back to the area.
On Saturday Baroness Royall, Shadow Leader of the House of Lords was in Bridgwater for a briefing with Bridgwater town councillors, Councillor Duncan McGinty, the Conservative leader of Sedgemoor and Sedgemoor’s chief executive Kerry Rickards.
Councillor Mick Lerry, leader of the Labour group on the council, said: “We want to see the business rate from this major development come through to the local people of Bridgwater .”