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UK signs long-awaited Farnco-Sino nuclear project


09-30-2016 05:31 BJT

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LONDON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) announced Thursday that it has signed all final agreements for the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project, and a suite of agreements relating to the projects of Sizewell C and Bradwell B, with French energy company EDF and the British government.

This means that all the necessary government and commercial approvals have been completed for Hinkley Point C project and the flagship project of the "golden era" for China-Britain relations can now move forward after two months of delay. This follows the Britain's decision to proceed with the project following a comprehensive review and revised agreement with EDF.

At the same time, the agreements will also enable preparatory work to begin on Bradwell B, allowing CGN to put its HPR1000 technology through Britain's generic design assessment (GDA) process.

During a signing ceremony in London, British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark, chairman and CEO of EDF Jean-Bernard Levy, and the chairman of CGN He Yu signed the final documentation to enable Hinkley Point C to go ahead.

"Signing the contract is a crucial moment in the UK's first new nuclear power station for a generation and follows new measures put in place by government to strengthen security and ownership," said Clark.

"Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear power stations like Hinkley play an important part in ensuring our future low-carbon energy security," he added.

CGN's chairman He said that the signing of a package of investment agreements in Britain's nuclear power projects means that CGN has the strength to compete with international nuclear giants.

"The signing of these agreements signifies CGN's commitment to the UK as one of the world's leading developers and operators of nuclear power. This flagship program is a triple win for China, Britain, and France and is a culmination of years of cooperation between the three countries. CGN looks forward to providing UK consumers with safe, reliable and sustainable energy and maximizing opportunities for UK suppliers and the UK workforce," he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said Hinkley Point C project is a flagship project and new milestone for China-Britain ties. "Today, the three countries signed an agreement which reconfirmed the golden era of China-UK relations. Hinkley Point C project is a golden product of a golden era," he said.

EDF said in a statement that the Hinkley Point C is a major element of the group's 2030 strategy. The two reactors at Hinkley Point will strengthen EDF's presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.

It added that Hinkley Point C is a unique asset for French and British industries as it will benefit the nuclear sectors in both countries and will support employment at major companies and smaller enterprises in the industry.

The Hinkley Point C project is located in Somerset and is a joint project between CGN and EDF in which CGN will have a 33.5 percent interest. According to the final investment agreement, construction of HPC can now commence with completion expected in 2025.

The proposed Bradwell B project will be located in Essex, subject to the HPR1000 design receiving GDA approval, and will consist of two HPR1000 reactors each with an output of 1.15 gigawatts. CGN will have a 66.5 percent interest in Bradwell with the remainder held by EDF.

HPR1000 is based on leading third generation nuclear technology and is China's nuclear technology of choice for export. CGN's Fangchenggang Unit 3, currently under construction in southern China, will be the reference plant for Bradwell B.

According to the agreement, CGN will officially submit the HPR1000 for GDA approval. The GDA process is the world's strictest nuclear technology review. CGN will file the GDA application to the British government immediately, and aims to complete the approval process within five years.

Liu highlighted CGN's HPR1000 technology and believed it will get through the GDA process.

"Because HPR1000 technology is already established in China and some other international markets, we are confident the technology can pass the assessment, which will mean that China's nuclear power really has gone global," he said.

"The UK has repeatedly stressed they welcome Chinese technology. They will use common international standards to assess," he added.

As the first new nuclear power project in Britain for more than 20 years, the Hinckley C nuclear power project represents a restart of the British nuclear power industry and paves the way for other new nuclear power projects in the country.

Britain is accelerating its transition towards a low-carbon economy with the goal of generating 25 percent of its energy requirements from renewable, sustainable sources. The three nuclear projects together form an important element in achieving that ambition.

The construction of Hinkley Point C project alone will provide over 25,000 employment opportunities which will benefit France and Britain's nuclear power industry supply chain, as well as provide skills training.

After completion, it will provide 7 percent of Britain's energy needs, delivering secure and affordable low-carbon electricity for 60 years.

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