Despite the UK government’s caution about engaging Chinese backers for its nuclear power industry, EDF is in talks with a Chinese company to build up to four new reactors at Hinkley Point.
The move comes amid concerns about the rising costs of nuclear energy, while EDF remains in talks with the government about the price it will be paid for electricity produced at the new plant.
Any large-scale Chinese investment into UK infrastructure, particularly the politically sensitive nuclear industry, could prove controversial, reports the FT.
EDF declined to comment on the Chinese talks. But, it said: “We have always said that we were open to the idea of other partners investing in the project. As we approach our final investment decision, it is right to consider funding options including seeking additional partners.”
The price will form the basis of a new system of long-term contracts designed to reduce the investment risk for nuclear and renewable developers. Critics say it will amount to a massive subsidy for the nuclear industry.
UK officials have said CGNPC and another Chinese state company bidding for Horizon should be only minority investors in their respective consortiums, to address the potential security concerns arising from the idea of entities backed by a communist state owning stakes in Britain’s sensitive nuclear industry.
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