EDF says China ties remain sound
French, Chinese nuclear firms currently focused on building UK’s Hinkley Point
France’s EDF Energy has insisted it is still working well with its two Chinese partners on the Hinkley Point nuclear project in the United Kingdom, after separate reports in the British media suggested the two sides had hit problems on trashing out the terms of their shared investment.
EDF said it would not comment on the reports in The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.
The company and its Chinese partners — China General Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear Corp — are also due to cooperate on another UK nuclear power plant, potentially Bradwell nuclear power plant in Essex, where EDF already owns land. The parties concerned will also discuss further use of Chinese nuclear power station technology.
“The UK will benefit from long-standing cooperation (between EDF and its Chinese partners) and the extensive and proven capability of CGN and CNNC in the construction and operation of nuclear plants,” EDF said.
“EDF has been working as an industrial partner with CGN and CNNC for 30 years. This includes the joint venture between EDF and CGN to build two EPR — a third-generation pressurized water reactor design — reactors at Taishan in Guangdong province.”
According to the Daily Express newspaper, an agreement for Chinese investment in Bradwell could be announced during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in October.
If it is given the green light, Bradwell could become the first nuclear power plant in a Western country to use Chinese indigenous technology, which would prove a major boost to the internationalization of Chinese nuclear power technology.
Hinkley, a 24.5-billionpound ($37.6 billion) nuclear plant in western England, is being led by EDF and is using French technology.
EDF owns 55 percent of the project, while its Chinese partners have a combined share of 30 percent, with no details yet revealed about the remaining 15 percent.
France’s nuclear and renewable energy firm Areva, which had planned to take a 15 percent stake, withdrew from the project because it ran into financial difficulties.
Mike Tynan, CEO of the UK’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, said there are great economic benefits in having Chinese investment in the country’s nuclear sector.
“Large infrastructure schemes are very expensive and require long-term, reliable and committed investors who have an appetite for risk. The Chinese meet all of these requirements,” he said.
“Partnerships between UK and Chinese companies will support UK advanced manufacturing and drive competitive pricing for reactor components and create a drive for innovation, leading to reduction of cost and schedule risk.”
He said there are great technical advantages for Chinese cooperation in the UK’s nuclear sector, asChina isontrack to become a leading proponent of civil nuclear technology.
“The Chinese government is moving at pace to develop civil nuclear technology and in doing so creating leading edge skills, knowledge and experience of newtechnologies.
“For the UK to maintain civil nuclear capability, we need to embrace technology leaders, partner with them, learn with them and drive innovative thinking for our future energy needs,” Tynan said.