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Chinese nuclear companies cleared to take stakes in new UK r


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Chinese nuclear companies cleared to take stakes in new UK reactors   Oct 18,2013 Platts The UK government is to allow Chinese nuclear companies to take stakes in new reactors to be built in the UK, finance minister George Osborne said Thursday on a visit to the Taishan nuclear power site in southern China.

Reporting on Osborne's trip Thursday, the BBC said French utility EDF was negotiating with three Chinese nuclear companies to take up to a 30% stake in EDF Energy's 3.2-GW Hinkley C project in Somerset, southwest England.

The three are China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), all of which have been seen by Osborne this week during his visit to China.

EDF Energy was not immediately available for comment.

"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," a government statement said.

The statement adds weight to reports that a Chinese investor would take a minority stake in Hinkley C and then look to license and develop its own nuclear technology at subsequent UK sites, with EDF's Bradwell site in Essex a possible location.

During the visit to Taishan, where EDF and CGN are building two European pressurized water reactors similar to those planned at Hinkley, Osborne said in the statement: "Today is another demonstration of the next big step in the relationship between Britain and China, the world's oldest civil nuclear power and the world's fastest growing civil nuclear power."

Osborne's announcement follows the signing this week in Beijing of a memorandum of understanding on civil nuclear collaboration. The memorandum sets the strategic framework for collaboration on investment, technology, construction and expertise, the government said.

"As well as supporting Chinese investment in Britain, 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 program," the government said.

Osborne said the UK-based International Nuclear Service had signed a separate memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Nuclear Power Engineering Company Ltd this week, to share UK experience on radioactive waste management. Initial training activities for Chinese technicians in the UK would start this month.