The UK and Chinese governments have signed a “landmark” agreement which confirms that Chinese companies could own and operate a Chinese designed nuclear power station in the UK, provided they meet the stringent requirements of the UK’s independent nuclear regulator.
The governments also signed a separate four-way civil nuclear agreement that could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds to British companies over several years by facilitating cooperative work in areas such as waste treatment and decommissioning, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said.
A joint statement on civil nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries said the UK government welcomes investment and participation from Chinese companies in the planned Hinkley Point C project and “progressive involvement more generally” in the UK’s new build nuclear energy programme.
This could include leading the development of other nuclear power station sites in the UK and the potential deployment of Chinese reactor technology in the UK, the statement said.
China said it recognises the UK as “a preferred partner” for the development of nuclear energy in China.
The four-way agreement is between DECC, International Nuclear Services (the commercial arm of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority), China National Nuclear Corporation and China Atomic Energy Authority.
It covers cooperation in areas such as the nuclear fuel cycle, decommissioning, and radioactive waste management and disposal.