EDF says China ties re­main sound

French, Chi­nese nu­clear firms cur­rently fo­cused on build­ing UK’s Hink­ley Point

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By CE­CILY LIUin Lon­don ce­cily.liu@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.

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.

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