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Friday, September 30, 2016, 09:41

China eyes new UK nuclear project after Hinkley

By Xinhua

China eyes new UK nuclear project after Hinkley
Technicians examine a control box at an onshore booster station in Rudong offshore windpower project of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) in Rudong County of Nantong City, east China's Jiangsu province, Sept 23, 2015. (Xinhua / Li Xiang)
LONDON - The Chinese company which takes one third of stakes in the French-led Hinkley Point C project in Britain expects a new China-led nuclear power plant to get approval from the British government in five years.

In an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday, board chairman of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) He Yu said that with Thursday's signing of the final agreement of Hinkley Point C project, his company will start preparation for the nuclear power plant at Bradwell in Essex, where the China-developed third-generation HPR1000 nuclear reactor is expected to be installed.

He said that CGN's involvement in the construction of the Hinkley project shows that China, a relative latecomer to nuclear power, has obtained the capacity to compete with the international nuclear power giants.

"The final approval of the Hinkley project, Britain's first new nuclear plant for two decades, shows resumption of operation of nuclear plants in the country, " he said, hailing the 18 billion-pound(US$23.38 billion) project as the "flagship" for the "golden era" of the China-Britain relations.

Talking about the delayed project, the chairman said his company is a constructor of commercial and civilian nuclear power stations which are not involved with the national security issues.

He said that the British government's new security policies concerning foreign investment in the nuclear power plants, such as taking a special share in all future newly build projects and letting ministers veto selling in the plant stake, do not conflict with the management, investment and profit sharing policies of his company.

"I don't believe CGN investment will be much affected," he said.

According to the newly inked contracts, the first nuclear power unit of the Hinkley Point C project is expected to be operational in 2025. The contracts also include the agreements on two other nuclear power plants at Sizewell and Bradwell in Britain.

He, who has been working in the nuclear power industry for 30 years, said that the Bradwell B Project is expected to be the first nuclear power plant project led by a Chinese company in the Western developed countries, marking a breakthrough of China's nuclear power technology export to the developed countries.

"CGN is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the power system, site conditions, project plan and investment of the Bradwell B power plant," he said. "We will officially submit our materials for the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) immediately after the signing of the contract with French company EDF to gain approval for construction."

"We are committed to endeavoring to wrap up the GDA process in approximate five years," which is the precondition for HPR1000 to land in Britain, he said.

"As long as the HPR1000 gets the British government's approval,  it will bring a desirable demonstration effect for CGN," the chairman said.

CGN is China's largest nuclear power plant operator and world's largest nuclear power plant constructor. Countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey have developed strong interest in CGN's third-generation nuclear power technology.

He said since CGN has never built a nuclear power plant in Europe, it is "sharing the boat with others to go out to the sea" to gain experience, referring to its joint investment with the French company EDF in the three British nuclear power plants.

"We will uphold a localization strategy and employ British people to build the British power plant," He pledged. He also vowed to have more communications with the local residents near the nuclear plants to dispel their worries over the nuclear power plant safety.

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