Hinkley Point C progress expected as Chinese state visit beckons

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The British government is hoping the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping next week helps generate the positive momentum required to reach a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant construction in western England.

Xi’s first state visit to the country, scheduled between Oct. 19 and 23 at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II, is expected to see progression on bilateral talks made at the sidelines of the nuclear security summit held in The Hague last March.
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At that event Xi and Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to push forward cooperative programmes in such areas as nuclear power, high-speed rails, high technology and finance, among others.

Tom Jones, Vice President of Business Development, Clean Energy at top engineering consultancy Amec Foster Wheeler told Power Engineering International at the recent POWER-GEN Europe event in Amsterdam that he was confident that the UK could lead the way in bringing a renaissance in new nuclear despite the issues with reference plants for the UK’s main vendor EDF in Finland and France. He said that regardless of present experience it ‘is important we can do these things to time and cost’ adding that Chinese firm Hitachi may end up taking the lead role.

At that time Jones also told Power Engineering International that the next step in the project would be the Final Investment Decision (FID), with the Chinese state visit to the UK expected to be highly influential in moving the Hinkley process on to the next phase.

With regard to Hinkley Point C British Finance Minister George Osborne said that Britain wants to make it a cooperation platform for Chinese capital, French technology and the British market. If carried out, it will be the first time China invests in a Western nuclear industry.

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