Chinese nuclear firms are weighing a plan of investing £35 billion ($54.5 billion) in building up to five nuclear reactors in the UK, the Guardian today reported, citing unnamed sources.
Chinese officials from the nuclear industry including from the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, an arm of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), this week held high-level talks with UK ministers and officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change over building up to five different reactors at a total cost of £35 billion, said the paper.
The first part of the plan envisages CNNC and another state-owned firm, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, bidding in two separate groups against each other for a stake in the Horizon consortium, which plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
The move comes after two German utilities RWE Npower and E.On in March announced that they were abandoning plans to build new nuclear in the UK and put Horizon up for sale after Germany accelerated its plans to go nuclear-free. (See: RWE, E. ON opt out of £15-bn UK nuclear project)
The withdrawal left two consortiums, one led by EDF Energy, a subsidiary of French utility EDF, with Centrica of the UK, and the other by GDF Suez of France and Iberdrola of Spain to build 8 nuclear reactors in the UK to replace the country's ageing nuclear reactors.
EDF has reportedly said that it too would pull out if the UK government does not come up with a more generous package of subsidies.
The withdrawal by the German companies came after Scottish and Southern Energy last year said that it was pulling out of the NuGeneration joint venture to build a new plant near Sellafield, West Cumbria.