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CGN respects UK decision to review Hinkley project

Staff Writer | August 1, 2016
China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) said it respects the decision of the new British government to review the Hinkley nuclear power project.
China General Nuclear   The Hinkley Point would provide 7 percent of electricity
CGN would hold a major stake in the project, according to a statement on the company's official microblog.

"We understand, given the importance of the Hinkley Point C programme to England's future energy security, that the new British Government has expressed a need for time to familiarize itself with the programme. CGN understands and respects this," the company said.

The British government announced on Friday it would review the Hinkley Point C project just hours after the builder, French state-owned utility EDF, voted to approve it, delaying a final decision on the plan just weeks after Britain's vote to leave the European Union ushered in a new prime minister.

The Hinkley Point reactor project, which would provide an estimated 7 percent of Britain's electricity, has been widely criticized as overpriced, and that critique has gained traction as the British economy has teetered in the aftermath of the vote.

The plant is estimated to cost around 18 billion pounds ($23.81 billion), and would be contracted for 35 years to sell energy to the British public at 92.50 pounds per megawatt hour, more than twice current baseload power prices.

The French side is also conflicted about the financial risks given the plant is not expected to start running until 2030. The plans have led to the resignation of an EDF board member who said they were financially risky, echoing the criticism of French unions which said the project jeopardises the survival of the company.

CGN was set to hold a 33 percent stake in the plant, a deal presided over by China's president Xi Jinping and Britain's then-prime minister David Cameron, part of a cooperative package designed to usher in a "golden era" of Sino-British friendship.

It would have marked the first project investment by a Chinese nuclear firm in a developed economy, but security services warned that the deal could give China access to computer systems that would allow it to shut down or sabotage the plant.