China given go-ahead to take stake in UK nuclear power
The UK Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the government is to give the go ahead to Chinese companies taking a stake – including potential future majority stakes – in the development of the next generation of UK nuclear power. He made the announcement at Taishan nuclear power station in southern China on the final day of his visit to China in October. Taishan is a collaboration between French energy company EDF and the China General Nuclear Power Company.
While any initial Chinese stake in a nuclear power project is likely to be a minority stake, over time stakes in subsequent new power stations could be majority stakes.
The announcement followed the earlier signing in Beijing of a new memorandum of understanding on civil nuclear collaboration that sets the strategic framework for collaboration on investment, technology, construction and expertise. As well as supporting Chinese investment in the UK, the memorandum will make sure that British companies such as Rolls Royce, International Nuclear Services (INS) and engineering companies like Mott MacDonald can be part of China’s multi billion pound new nuclear programme.
As part of this, the Chancellor also announced that INS has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Nuclear Power Engineering Company to share UK experience on radioactive waste management, and will start with some initial training activities for Chinese technicians in the UK.