MPs are reportedly zeroing in on a deal that could see China booted from a £20bn nuclear power station project.
The move, which could see the government take a stake in the Sizewell C power station, is likely to heighten geopolitical tensions. The government could reportedly confirm the plans by the beginning of October.
Buying a stake in the project is likely to result in China General Nuclear (CGN), which currently has a 20 per cent stake in Sizewell, being removed from the project, the Guardian first reported.
Suffolk-based Sizewell is still going through its planning and development stages, but could eventually power around 6m homes.
The project has faced a number of setbacks, such as opposition from local campaigners, fears over its expense, as well as China’s involvement.
Under the current plans with energy giant EDF, the government could take a stake in a development company that will push it through planning stages and bureaucracy, with sharing the costs with EDF.
The global gas crisis and rising energy bills in the UK have prompted ministers to act with haste – particularly as the gap in low-carbon power widens.
By the end of the decade, Britain will have just on existing nuclear power station, despite its current eight plants providing up to 20 per cent of the country’s electricity.
The government would be scrapping its own deal with CGN, made in 2015, which would have seen the Chinese nuclear power group fund Sizewell and Hinkley power station and then install its own reactors at a third site at Bradwell in Essex.
It follows similar reports from the Financial Times in July, who cited sources familiar with the plans, saying that Britain was exploring ways to remove China’s state-owned nuclear energy company from all future power projects in the UK.
City A.M. has contacted CGN and EDF for comment.