The Chinese General Nuclear Power Group is expected to sign a deal involving EDF Energy to build a £14Bn nuclear plant at Hinkley in Somerset, paving the way for a construction project that will create around 5,500 jobs.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the breakthrough allowing Chinese investment in the stalled nuclear building programme on the last day of his trade visit to China. Details of the commercial deal to build the plant are expected to be announced by Energy Secretary Ed Davey on Monday.
This will be the UK’s first nuclear reactor since Sizewell B, which started operation in 1995. Chinese and other overseas funders are also understood to be examining other sites in the UK for nuclear investment.
Hinkley will bring together technology from France and Japan and funding from China in what could be the first of a number of nuclear projects. The project was granted planning permission earlier this year but a major stumbling block has been the price to be guaranteed to EDF for the Hinkley plant’s output. The deal to be announced on Monday is expected to be about double the current market price of electricity.
Companies already awarded contracts on the Hinkley project include Bouygues, Laing O’Rourke, Bam Nuttall, Kier and Balfour Beatty. A joint venture of Costain and Sir Robert McAlpine is expected to be awarded a £200M contract for intake/outlet tunnels.
Other Chinese funding has already been secured for a £650M business district at Manchester airport, and a £500M redevelopment at Crystal Palace, London.
Photo: EDF Energy