China, Britain and France Signed the Final Agreement on Hinkley Point Nuclear Project

China, Britain and France signed the final investment agreement on Hinkely Point C Nuclear Project. This marks the official start of the flagship cooperation project in the "golden era" of China-UK relations after long and hard negotiations, and adds to the possibility of China's nuclear technology to be implemented in overseas projects.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) officially signed a package agreement on jointly developing the new nuclear power project in the UK with Electricit?? de France (EDF) and a series of intergovernmental agreements on the guarantee of the investment in and return of Hinkely Point C Nuclear Power Project with Britain with the transfer of equity being completed. This means that Hinkely Point C Project has gone through all necessary procedures for examination and approval.

Situated in Somerset, Britain, Hinkely Point C Project will be jointly developed by a Chinese consortium led by CGN and EDF with the adoption of EPR technology. According to the agreement, project design and field research will be immediately kicked off, with the actual construction starting in mid 2019 and the first power unit being put into operation in 2025. By then, the project is expected to ensure reliable, low-carbon power supply to 6 million people in the UK.

Apart from Hinkely Point C, CGN will also cooperate with EDF to develop SZC and BRB nuclear power projects. 

China and France will cooperate in the initial phase of the development of SZC Nuclear Power Project, holding 20% and 80% of the shares respectively. BRB Nuclear Power Project, however, will be led by CGN with EDF playing a supportive role with 66.5% of the investment coming from CGN and 33.5% of the investment coming from EDF in the initial phase of development. The third generation of "Hualong No.1" nuclear power technology independently developed by China will be adopted in the development of the BRB Project.

It is introduced that "Hualong No.1" was jointly developed by CGN and CNNC. It's as safe and secure as mainstream third generation nuclear power technologies developed by the United States, France and Russia, but is more economical. Therefore, it plays an important role in promoting China's participation in overseas nuclear power projects.

According to the agreement, after signing a package of documents including the final investment agreement with EDF, CGN will officially present the general design of "Hualong No.1" to the British government for examination and approval. This is the prerequisite for "Hualong No.1" to enter the British market and a critical step for the technology to go global.

He Yu, Chairman of the board of directors for CGN, pointed out that the signing of the investment packageabout the nuclear power projects in the UK signified that CGN was able to compete with international nuclear power giants. The signing of the agreement was the result of the mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation among China, UK and France. As the flagship project in the "golden era" of China-UK relations, the implementation of the project would increase people's confidence in the development of China-UK relations. At the same time, BRB is the first nuclear project to be developed with Chinese companies playing the leading role, which can be regarded as a major breakthrough in the export of nuclear power technologies independently developed by China to Western countries.

The decision of the re-assessment of Hinkely Point Nuclear Power Project made by Theresa May after only a few weeks of taking office was seen by some media as an indication of changes in the attitude of the British government towards Chinese investment. On 15th September, the British government announced that the project was officially approved.

As the first nuclear power project to be developed in more than 20 years, Hinkely Point C marks the restart of nuclear projects in the UK. The eight nuclear power stations accounting for 20% of national power consumption that are currently in operation will no longer be able to use around 2030, with all thermal power stations to be closed down around 2025. Therefore, to replace the current power units and reduce carbon emission to tackle climate change, the UK is in urgent need of new nuclear projects.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

 

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