The British government on Thursday approved the construction of the country’s first new nuclear power plant in more than two decades, a French and Chinese-backed project that had prompted high-level fears about national security.
CCTV’s Olly Barratt reports.
Britain approves construction of Hinkley Point nuclear power plantThe British government on Thursday approved the construction of the country's first new nuclear power plant in more than two decades, a French and Chinese-backed project that had prompted high-level fears about national security. CCTV's Olly Barratt reports.
The government said in a statement that it had decided to proceed with the 18 billion-pound ($23 billion) Hinkley Point plant in southwest England, but that future foreign-funded infrastructure projects will be subject to tighter rules.
The plant will be financed by Chinese nuclear power provider CGN and French energy group EDF. China and France welcomed the approval, which came weeks after Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly stalled the deal after she took office in July, saying she wanted to review it.
let us hope that London quits its China-phobia and works with Beijing to ensure the project’s smooth development.
The delay threw into doubt the “golden era” of ties proclaimed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Britain last year. China’s ambassador to Britain warned that it left relations between the two countries at a crossroads.
Liu Chang, a commentator for Xinhua new agency, is cautiously optimistic about the project’s future.
“A spirit of sincere cooperation and partnership is much needed,” said Liu. “Let us hope that London quits its China-phobia and works with Beijing to ensure the project’s smooth development.”
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the Hinkley Point deal “will include a series of measures to enhance security” and ensure it cannot change hands without the government’s agreement.
Under the deal, EDF won’t be able to sell its controlling stake in the project before completion without British approval.
The British government also said it would impose “significant new safeguards” on future foreign investment in nuclear power and other critical infrastructure, to “ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the government’s knowledge or consent.”
“There will be reforms to the government’s approach to the ownership and control of critical infrastructure to ensure that the full implications of foreign ownership are scrutinized for the purposes of national security,” it said in a statement.
China’s CGN welcomed the Hinkley decision and said it was now “able to move forward and deliver” nuclear capacity at two more planned U.K. reactors, one of which is expected to be Chinese-designed, as well as financed.
British trade unions and manufacturers also welcomed the deal, which they said could create up to 25,000 jobs.
Nuclear power supplies about 20 percent of Britain’s energy, but no new reactors have been built since the 1990s.
Clark said the Hinkley Point project would “inaugurate a new era of U.K. nuclear power” and help cut greenhouse gas emissions, which must fall by 80 percent on 1990 levels by 2050.
Story by The Associated Press and Xinhua