Signing ceremony set to finalise Hinkley nuclear power station deal

Darchem Engineering

An $18bn deal has been signed by the British government, French energy giant EDF and Chinese firm CGN for the construction of the Hinkely Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, England.

A so-called contract for difference was signed in London by the business secretary, Greg Clark, EDF chairman, Jean-Bernard Levy, and He Yu, chairman of Chinese firm CGN which has a one-third stake in the scheme.

French nuclear energy group Areva announced on Thursday in a press release that it signed contracts worth 5 billion euros (5.61 billion US dollars) which is related to Hinkley Point C project.

The future of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant was uncertain for a while after British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed the project over concerns about the security implications of Chinese involvement.

Areva NP said it has won subcontracts to deliver two nuclear steam supply systems and will supply, install and commission the plant's operational and safety control system.

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.

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According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the new safeguards have now been agreed by all parties involved in the project and the Contract for Difference and Secretary of State Investor Agreement for Hinkley Point have been formally signed.

Ashurst is advising CGN on its investment into Hinkley Point C with a team led by co-head of corporate Robert Ogilvy Watson and utilities partner David Wadham.

The no-frills event for the project in Hinkley, southwest England, to be built by France's EDF and part-funded by China, contrasted with the approach taken by May's predecessor David Cameron who courted Chinese investment during a lavish state visit laid on for President Xi Jinping previous year. Hinkley Point will provide around 7 percent of Britain's electricity, helping to fill a supply gap as the country's coal plants are set to close by 2025.

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: "It's no wonder the UK Government has opted for a Champagne-free signing ceremony away from public view".

The 18 billion-pound ($23 billion) project will be financed by Chinese nuclear power provider CGN and French energy group EDF. "It has overcome obstacles and challenges which will benefit our next nuclear projects in Britain".

"Labour have said repeatedly that the Tory Government negotiated too high a price for the power that Hinkley C will generate".

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