China investing £6 billion in Hinkley Point nuclear project

Artist’s impression of Hinkley Point C

China is investing £6 billion in the Hinkley Point nuclear project in Somerset.

The announcement was made at a news conference by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) reached an agreement with French nuclear plant operator EDF to invest £6 billion in Hinkley for a 33.5 per cent stake of the nuclear power station.

CGN will also build two reactors at Sizewell in Suffolf.

In return EDF will help CGN obtain a license to develop a Chinese-designed nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex.

Building a plant in the UK will help China expand its nuclear power presence in other markets.

The Hinkley power station will not be fully operational for at least another decade. The UK said that the new project is necessary to replace old reactors and polluting coal plants.

Hinkley will be the European Union’s first new nuclear plant since 2011. The final cost of the project is £18 billion. EDF has said that could sell another 15% stake in the project.

The government guaranteed a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of power that the Hinkley plant generates for the next 35 years. However, this is more than twice the current cost, which some believe could make energy more expensive for British consumers.

The UK government hopes that the project will boost the development of nuclear power stations.

“The Government will support new nuclear power stations. Hinkley Point C will kick-start this and is expected to be followed by more nuclear power stations,” said Britain’s Energy Minister, Amber Rudd, in a statement.