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UK Wants China Out Of Nuclear Power Project

The UK is ousting China's CGN from the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project, the Financial Times reported, adding that the options for the 20-percent stake that the Chinese company holds in the project will be sold to institutional investors or floated on the stock market.

Reports of the UK government's intention to remove the Chinese state-owned company from the nuclear power project first emerged in July, also by the Financial Times, which at the time wrote that the plan was to cut off CGN from all nuclear power projects in the UK amid a cooling off between the two countries that also saw the UK force China's Huawei out of its 5G network.

The growing animosity of the UK towards China came amid China's quashing of dissenters in Hong Kong, allegations of repressions against Muslim minorities such as the Uyghurs, and a growing concern—not only in the UK—that reliance on Chinese technology threatens the security of other countries' supply chains and critical infrastructure.

The Sizewell C nuclear power plant, to have an installed capacity of 3.2 GW, is 80-percent owned by French EDF. The project would cost $27 billion (20 billion pounds) to build, of which CGN was supposed to provide 20 percent.

Now, EDF is reportedly considering something called a "regulated asset base" for the project, which, the FT explains, would involve households starting to contribute to the cost of building Sizewell C through their electricity bills before it begins operating.

"CGN is a valued partner at Hinkley Point C and a shareholder in Sizewell C up until the point of the government's Final Investment Decision. Negotiations are ongoing and no final decision has been taken", the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told Reuters in a statement.

The Chinese company is also a 30-percent shareholder in another nuclear power plant project in the UK, Hinkley Point C, which is also majority-owned by EDF and currently under construction.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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