China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), is in talks with EDF of France on sharing the cost of building a new plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, which has an estimated price tag of £14bn.
But CGN has made it clear to EDF that it will only proceed if it is given more of a say in running other plants the two companies build together in the UK, according to people familiar with the talks.
As well as Hinkley, EDF also has plans to construct two new reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk. One of the people said CGN could seek to become joint operator of the new Sizewell plant – although EDF is likely to retain overall control. The Chinese could also push for greater involvement in the plant’s construction, and might even seek to provide the design for its reactors. “CGN is using Hinkley as a stepping stone,” he said. “In the next project, they’ll want greater control.”
However, given the sensitivities surrounding nuclear power, the idea of allowing a Chinese state-backed company to take an operational role in a nuclear power station could raise a welter of national security concerns."