Chinese groups eye UK nuclear programme

Discussion in 'China' started by cir, May 4, 2012.

  1. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    Likes Received:
    May 3, 2012 10:33 pm

    By Jim Pickard, Anousha Sakoui and Guy Chazan

    The Chinese government could end up with a stake in Britain’s nuclear programme, with two Beijing-backed energy groups involved in talks to buy the Horizon consortium from its German owners.

    Eon and RWE put their joint venture, which plans to build two reactors in Britain, up for sale in March, prompting widespread fears about Britain’s energy strategy. Nomura was appointed last week to find a buyer.

    At least two loosely formed consortia are weighing up rival bids for the Horizon sites at Wylfa in north Wales and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. Western utilities, Chinese state-owned power companies and sovereign wealth funds are involved in talks, the Financial Times has learnt.

    The discussions are being closely watched by the UK government, which is relying on the success of a nuclear programme to ensure that the country meets its energy needs in the next decade – and its climate commitments beyond that.

    “The stakes really are high, this is about the lights staying on,” a Whitehall insider said.

    Officials are aware that the prospect of China investing in Britain’s nuclear energy programme will not escape criticism.

    Centrica has indicated that it might withdraw from a separate consortium with EDF, the French energy group, to build other nuclear plants.

    GDF Suez, which controls the Nugen joint venture with Iberdrola, the Spanish energy group, warned last week that it would not make any decision on whether to invest in a new nuclear site in Cumbria until 2015.

    Horizon had hoped to get its first new nuclear station operational by 2020, a timetable that may now slip. The joint venture could generate up to 6,600 MW of power.

    According to three people familiar with the matter, the government and Horizon have been talking to two fledgling consortia although “the parts are still coming together”.

    One potential bidder is GDF, which is considering a joint bid with its Nugen partner, Iberdrola.

    The other potential consortium involves Japan’s Westinghouse, owned by Toshiba, with a western utility, a Chinese group – either China Guangdong Nuclear Power or China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation – and potentially a sovereign wealth fund.

    George Osborne, the chancellor, has been trying to drum up Chinese investment in British infrastructure.

    Chinese investment in UK energy will be controversial but is not unprecedented: Guangdong owns Kalahari, a UK uranium company, and PetroChina has invested in Grangemouth, the Scottish oil refinery.

    The joint venture needs owners with deep pockets who can pay for the building costs.

    Exelon, a US power group, has also expressed an interest in buying Horizon. But EDF has been discouraged from bidding on the basis that the government wants a broad spread of interest.

    Britain has almost unanimous political support for its nuclear programme; a vote on nuclear expansion in November was passed by 520 to 27.

    GDF Suez, Eon, Iberdrola and RWE declined to comment. Npower, RWE’s UK arm, said it was confident that it would sell Horizon.

    Exelon said it “continually evaluates all opportunities to add value for our shareholders, including M&A”.

    Chinese groups eye UK nuclear programme -
    panduranghari and LETHALFORCE like this.

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
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    In the end the capitalists have admitted defeat and will buy from the communists a real
    Symbolic move of a empires decline and defeat. A new paradigm and power shift. A bastian
    Of democracy looking for investments from a old adversary. Another irony one of the first
    Members to sign and draft the NPT buying from the last member(who also violated it)
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  4. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2012
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    I don't know for sure,but French nuclear companies in UK like EDF have a good chance of getting the contract. I do however wonder with long gestation periods, how long prior to to the actual realisation of this project.

    UK is throwing a lot of money at renewable energy which is good but FOR THE PRESENT and FUTURE, nuclear energy is the only answer.

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