Who: Britain and China
What: Signed Strategic Investment Agreements
When: 21 October 2015
Why: For building three nuclear plants
Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron on 21 October 2015 signed Strategic Investment Agreements at a UK-China Business Summit at Mansion House in London during the official visit of Xi Jinping.
Under the agreement, China will help the UK in building three nuclear plants including Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, which will be the first since 1980s.
Highlights of the deal
• The deal was signed between China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and France’s EDF.
• Chinese investment will build 2 new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C, controlled by EDF, in Somerset, southwest England.
• CGN will take 33.5 percent stake and EDF will take 66.5 percent in the planned 18 billion pound Hinkley Point nuclear plant.
• CGN will take a two-thirds stake in the Bradwell nuclear plant east of London, where it plans to build a Chinese-designed reactor.
• CGN will also take a one-fifth stake in a project for Areva-designed reactors at the Sizewell plant.
• British oil giant BP and China Huadian Corporation also signed a sale and purchase agreement for BP to sell Huadian up to 1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year.
• Expected to open by 2025 at a cost of about 25 billion including financing, Hinkley Point C is a to-be-constructed 3200 MWe nuclear power station with two European Pressurised Reactors in Somerset, England.
• As per the Solar Trade Association, solar power can provide the same amount of electricity for half the subsidy cost. In addition, Hinkley’s estimated cost of 24.5 billion pounds including financing costs comes out as a huge investment for a massive company like EDF, which also makes it highly risky.
• On a bright note, Hinkley Point C will generate a stable source of clean power to around 6 million homes, and will also provide up to 25000 employment opportunities. When fully operational, the plant will employ around 900 permanent staff.
• The deal is criticized for its security concerns regarding allowing China a pivotal role in Britain’s nuclear future.