World / Europe

British media reports that Hinkley likely to get the green light from UK

By Chris Peterson in London ( Updated: 2016-09-14 17:19

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to announce the go-ahead for the 18 billion pound nuclear power station, to be built in southwest England using French technology with Chinese financing, British newspapers reported.

British media reports that Hinkley likely to get the green light from UK

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site is seen near Bridgwater in Britain, September 14, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

The Daily Telegraph said May was ready to call France's President Francois Hollande on Monday to inform him she was ready to give the project the green light, but the call was cancelled at the last minute because of fresh questions from Britain’s Department of Energy.

The Daily Mirror reported that the announcement would come as early as Thursday but that Britain would be seeking modifications to some aspects of the original agreement.

Bloomberg News cited an unidentified official in Paris as saying May had already informed France that the project can go ahead, although it would be subject to unspecified conditions.

May shocked diplomats in France and China when, only days after she took over from David Cameron, who quit shortly after he lost a referendum on EU membership, she announced she was delaying approval of the project until September.

Tonight her office in Downing Street would only confirm that a decision would be announced this month.

The Financial Times said May’s officials were concerned about financial aspects of the deal, as well as security issues.

The deal, originally put together by Cameron and his Chancellor, George Osbourne, included a clause that Chinese technology would be used to build a further nuclear power plant at Bradwell-on-Sea in eastern England.

China, which has pledged to invest around 40 billion pounds in the UK in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s successful state visit in October last year.

Both sides hailed the beginning of a "golden era" in Sino-British relations, a phrase repeated by May when she met Xi for the first time at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou earlier this month.

Xi told May China understood why May needed time to evaluate agreements struck by her predecessor, and indicated his government would be patient.

The Financial Times said May could give her approval with the condition that the Bradwell clause be treated as a separate deal, to be renegotiated.

Hinkley Point will generate 25,000 jobs and supply power for 7 million households. China is financing a third of the deal.

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