Business / Economy

Chinese, French firms sign agreement on British nuclear power project

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-22 08:53

LONDON - Chinese and French companies signed an agreement Wednesday to build a British nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in southwestern England.

In the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron, China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and Electricite de France (EDF) signed a strategic investment agreement.

According to the agreement, the CGN-led Chinese consortium takes a 33.5 percent stake and EDF takes 66.5 percent in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.

Cameron described the deal as "historic" as the project would provide reliable, affordable energy to nearly 6 million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs.

He Yu, chairman of CGN, told Xinhua that the deal would promote the exportation of Chinese nuclear facilities to high-end markets in Europe and provide opportunities for Chinese companies to get fully involved in the development of Britain's nuclear power industry.

He attributed the company's participation in the project to the increasingly close economic and trade ties between the two countries.

"As political mutual trust and economic partnership develop, I believe more breakthroughs will be seen in cooperation in the nuclear power industry of the two countries," he said.

The Chinese investment will step up the construction of the project and strongly help Britain in developing clean energy and ensuring energy supply, he added.

The power station, with two reactors, will have a total capacity of 3.3 GW, which is expected to be the largest output by a single plant in Britain.

CGN's talents, technology and industry chain will promote the industrial development, create jobs and enhance personnel training for the British side, he said.

David Elmes with Britain's Warwick Business School said that the project is supposed to prompt a new wave of Chinese investment in British energy infrastructure, noting that it is the first project in the British government's plans for a series of new nuclear power stations.

Xi has noted that the Hinkley project is a product of tripartite cooperation among China, Britain and France.

"I hope that the companies of the three countries will fully leverage their respective strengths to ensure the successful launch of this project and deliver benefits to the British people," he said in a written interview with Reuters ahead of his visit to Britain.

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