China in talks to build five nuclear power plants in UK
Chinese nuclear firms are in talks with British officials about plans to set up five nuclear reactors at a cost of £35 billion.
A team from the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute (SNERDI), part of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), indulged in high-level talks with ministers and officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) this week that could see five nuclear reactors being built in Wylfa in Wales, Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Bradwell in Essex, Heysham in Lancashire and Hartlepool in County Durham.
According to the Guardian, the newspaper that broke the news, their source was quoted saying: “The Chinese have the money and the experience. They see setting up in the UK as an opportunity to show they can operate in one of the world’s toughest regulatory environments so they can then move into other markets in Africa and the Middle East.”
The DEEC refused to validate the occurrence of the meeting with SNERDI officials, stating that such meetings would be commercially confidential. A DECC spokesman said: “The UK is open for business and actively welcomes inward investment to our energy sector, but any potential nuclear operator is, and would be, subject to rigorous scrutiny through the established regulatory process.”
Keith Parker, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association in London, welcomed the Chinese officials’ ambition calling it “highly encouraging”. He said: “They have 14 of their own reactors in operation and 25 under construction and they use both Areva and Westinghouse designs that could be used here. It was clear from my discussions with them that they have international ambitions.”