The UK government is reportedly planning to proceed with its Sizewell C nuclear project without Chinese financial support, an internal source privy to the matter has claimed.
According to the source, the planned £20 billion ($27.5 billion) facility in the eastern side of England is still viable despite, the government of UK looking into ways to eliminate state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp., from all future energy projects in the nation.
In December, the government committed to funding at least one large-scale nuclear plant by 2025. Electricite de France SA, Sizewell's majority partner, is in discussions with the UK government about alternatives that may now remove CGN's support. The Chinese firm owns a 20% interest in the power station's development.
Because of security concerns, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's administration is tightening its attitude against China. Members of the Conservative Party have often voiced concerns about China's growing engagement in critical aspects of the United Kingdom's infrastructure.
Former Conservative leader and Tory Member of Parliament, Iain Duncan Smith, stated that the government should conduct a comprehensive strategic assessment of its reliance on China. Nuclear power is vital to the UK's electric energy setup, and the government simply cannot trust China when it comes to its energy endeavors.
The government has struggled to find ways to finance future nuclear facilities due to their high construction costs. Options being explored for Sizewell C include the government acquiring an equity position and the regulated asset base model, in which the taxpayer is accountable for some construction risks. This would make it easier to get lower-cost private-sector funding.
CGN also holds a 33% of share in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, which is presently under development in Somerset and is one of the country's largest infrastructure projects. With EDF planning to permanently down five of the United Kingdom's eight nuclear reactors by 2024, a delay in building new capacity to replace them would make meeting the country's net-zero emissions objective considerably more difficult.