China's CGN Seeking To Buy 49 Percent Of Britain's Nuclear Plants

A report from the Sunday Times in London said that China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) has expressed interest in buying a 49 percent stake in Britain's 15 operating nuclear power reactors.

Hinkley Point C (artist sketch)The 15 reactors at eight sites – Dungeness B, Hartlepool, Heysham A, Heysham B, Hinkley Point B, Hunterson B, Sizewell B and Torness – supply approximately 20 percent of Britain's electricity, according to Nuclear Engineering International.

CGN is already committed to financing 35 percent of the Hinkley Point C project. As part of the financing deal, CGN also has rights to own a majority stake in the upcoming Bradwell B expansion project, which will deploy Chinese-designed HPR1000 (Hualong One) reactors in Britain.

French utility EDF currently owns the plants along with Centrica, which bought a 20 percent share in 2009, a year after EDF purchased the plants from British Energy for $16.55 billion. But Centrica has said it plans to divest itself of its stake in British nuclear plants by 2020 and EDF is expected to drop its ownership down from 80 percent to 51 percent.

Should CGN purchase 49 percent of the power plants in Britain, it would not have company control or the option to operate the power plants. 

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  • As Tom Lehrer tells us in "Who's Next",  Wernher von Braun knows in English and German how to count down:

    "Und I'm learning Chinese".

    I am glad as an expatriate Scot that somebody is interested in the only clean and reliable way of producing electric power in Britain.

  • In Virginia my supplier is reported as generating 47% of its energy from nuclear.