Belfast Telegraph

Hinkley Point 'Plan B' denied by Chinese state-owned energy giant

An energy giant owned by the Chinese state has denied it plans to step in with a "Plan B" at Hinkley Point should a £21 billion deal with the French collapse.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) issued the denial after former energy secretary Lord Howell told the Lords the Chinese were prepared to "bypass EDF altogether" at the Hinkley C project in Somerset.

Decisions on the scheme's future have been delayed and concerns have been raised over the French state-owned firm to take on the huge cost of building the plant.

The French energy company recently revealed the price of building the reactors could rocket to £21 billion, £3 billion more than it said last year.

EDF said it plans to provide up to £13.8 billion for the project, while CGN would contribute £6.9 billion financing for the French to build two reactors at the site.

The original switch-on date for the plant has already been delayed three years to 2026, with building expected to take nine-and-a-half years.

In its most recent statement EDF, which is 85% owned by the French state, pushed a final decision on investment for the project back to September.

CGN said a report in The Times that the Chinese had drawn up a plan to take over the site completely in the event the EDF pulls out was "without foundation".

The Chinese are currently seeking approval for their reactor technology from British regulators, whereas French designs have passed.

A CGN spokesman said: "China General Nuclear Power Corporation has no plans to build nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C.

"Our intention is to obtain regulatory approval to build our reactor design at Bradwell in Essex."