UK to allow China majority stakes in nuclear projects: Osborne

China companies to take major part in UK nuclear power developments, British chancellor reveals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 8:49pm

Britain will allow Chinese companies to take majority stakes in nuclear power projects in the country, finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday.

Osborne made the announcement during a visit to the Taishan atomic power station in southern China, the British government said in a press release, at the end of a trip which saw a memorandum signed on civil nuclear co-operation between the two countries.

“Today is another demonstration of the next big step in the relationship between Britain and China”
British finance minister George Osborne

“Today is another demonstration of the next big step in the relationship between Britain and China – the world’s oldest civil nuclear power and the world’s fastest growing civil nuclear power,” Osborne said in the release.

The document said China’s initial stakes in nuclear power stations in Britain were likely to be minority shares, but added: “Over time stakes in subsequent new power stations could be majority stakes”.

The announcement comes amid reports that China General Nuclear Power and French energy giant EDF have agreed a controversial deal to build a new atomic power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Osborne said his announcement was “an important potential part of the government’s plan for developing the next generation of nuclear power in Britain”.

“It means the potential of more investment and jobs in Britain, and lower long-term energy costs for consumers,” he added.

The Taishan facility is a joint venture between China General Nuclear Power and EDF, according to the release.