boost for Hinkley Point C project near Burnham-On-Sea
George Osborne has announced that the UK will guarantee a £2bn
deal under which China will invest in a new Hinkley Point nuclear
power station near Burnham-On-Sea.
Osborne, who is in China, said the deal would pave the way for
a final investment decision on the delayed project by French energy
said it would also enable greater collaboration between Britain
and China on the construction of other nuclear plants.
welcomed news of the government guarantee, but did not say if
it put the project back on track.
this month, EDF admitted the Hinkley C project, which was intended
to allow the plant to generate power by 2023, would be delayed.
February, the firm announced that it had pushed back its decision
on whether to invest in the plant.
cannot afford the estimated £24.5bn cost of the plant on
its own, so has been looking for financial partners to invest,
particularly in China. This has proved difficult, which is why
the government has had to step in to guarantee part of the cost.
new power station would be Britain's first new nuclear plant for
20 years and is expected to provide power for about 60 years.
in Beijing, Mr Osborne said: "We want the UK to be China's
best partner in the West. [This guarantee] paves the way for Chinese
investment in UK nuclear [to help provide] secure, reliable, low
carbon electricity for decades to come."
also announced a new £50m joint research centre for nuclear
de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said the chancellor's
announcement was "further progress towards a final investment
decision" on the plant.
added: "The chancellor's approval of the infrastructure guarantee
is a clear sign of the government's commitment to Hinkley Point
C. The government's determination to bring about a renewal of
infrastructure and to attract inward investment to the UK are
demonstrated by this good news.
Greenpeace's chief scientist Dr Doug Parr described the £2bn
guarantee from George Osborne as "signing up the country
for the ultimate rip-off deal".
added: "Instead of locking two generations of UK consumers
into paying billions to foreign state-owned firms, Osborne should
invest in the flexible, smart, and truly clean energy system that
can power a 21st Century Britain without leaving a pile of radioactive
waste as legacy."
critics have raised concerns about the design of the new reactor,
which will use new so-called EPR technology. Similar reactors
being built in France and Finland are both late and way over budget.