LONDON, July 21 Chinese nuclear firms are
considering investing 35 billion pounds in building up to five
new nuclear reactors in Britain, a newspaper reported on
A team from the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and
Design Institute (SNERDI), an arm of the China National Nuclear
Corporation (CNNC), met senior British officials in the past
week, the Guardian newspaper said on its website.
The first part of the plan would involve CNNC and another
state-owned firm, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation,
bidding in two separate groups against each other for a stake in
the Horizon project, it said.
The paper, citing unnamed sources close to the Chinese, said
the Chinese are also interested in other locations at Bradwell
in Essex, in the southeast, Heysham in Lancashire and Hartlepool
in County Durham, both in northern England.
"The Chinese have the money and the experience," the paper
quoted a source close to the Chinese as saying.
"They see setting up in the UK as an opportunity to show
they can operate in one of the world's toughest regulatory
environments so they can then move into other markets in Africa
and the Middle East."
The French company EDF is also interested in building new
reactors in Britain.
CNNC would look to use an existing technology tie-up with
US-based nuclear engineering group Westinghouse to potentially
build three more reactors, the paper said.
It would likely need to bring in a UK utility firm to
operate the plants, the Guardian added.
Britain was "open for business," subject to regulatory
rules, a spokeswoman at the Department of Energy and Climate
Change said in a statement.
"With regards to Horizon, as outlined from the start of the
process, it is in the UK's interest that the Horizon sites
continue to have the potential to be developed.
"The Government continues to talk to any interested partners
and investors about all aspects of the UK's policy and
commitment to new nuclear."
Horizon is one of the UK's biggest nuclear projects.
The Gloucester-based joint venture owns two nuclear sites,
at Oldbury near Bristol and Wylfa on Anglesey, where it plans to
build 6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity with an investment of 15