China could buy Areva, Westinghouse nuclear project in U.K.

London, June 18, 2012 — A pair of Chinese state-owned companies that are teaming up with Western firms are bidding $24 billion on a nuclear power project in the U.K.

The U.K.'s government is seeking to build the plants, but jumps in the estimated cost and the uncertainty throughout the industry following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident have troubled the project and made securing funding difficult for its developers.

U.K.-based Horizon, originally a joint venture between German companies E.On and RWE npower, is the consortium attempting to develop the project since January 2009.

E.On and RWE, whose home country of Germany is exiting the nuclear power industry and phasing out all its nuclear reactors, announced the sale of Horizon in March 2012. According to the consortium's website, Horizon shareholders are looking for new owners to sponsor the project.

Toshiba Corp.'s Westinghouse and France-based Areva, which want to build their U.K.-approved AP1000 pressurized water reactor in the U.K., have picked separate Chinese nuclear companies to help bid for Horizon.

Westinghouse and Areva have teamed up with China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. The former company already plans to build an AP1000 nuclear reactor with Westinghouse in China. Likewise, the CGNPC is working with Areva to build a nuclear unit in China.

The planned sites for the proposed plants are Oldbury and Wylfa, and the plants would have a combined capacity of 6 GW.

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