Britain to pay Chinese firm £100m to end involvement from energy plant
Sizewell C nuclear plant confirmed with £700m public stake
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Britain is to pay a Chinese state-owned firm over £100million to buy out its 20 percent stake in one of the UK’s nuclear energy plants. The Government is preparing to pay power group CGN exit fees for its share of Sizewell C as it seeks to reduce China’s involvement in critical infrastructure projects.
There are concerns the UK has ceded too much control to Beijing in what could become a national security risk.
Earlier this week, Mr Sunak warned the “golden era” of UK-Chinese relations was “over”.
“We also need to evolve our approach to China,” he said in a speech.
“We recognise China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests, a challenge that grows more acute as it moves towards even greater authoritarianism.”
CGN’s investment in Sizewell C was first signed off by David Cameron when he was in No10.
He had hoped to improve relations by giving the go-ahead to a number of Chinese investment projects.
According to the Financial Times, the £100million buyout figure reflects the expenditure spent by the Chinese company in the project so far.
It is hoped that American investors will inject funds in Sizewell C in place of CGN.
The exit fees for the Chinese firm were confirmed as the Government confirmed it was buying a £700million stake in the plant.
Ministers said the investment would create 10,000 highly skilled jobs and provide reliable low-carbon power to the equivalent of six million homes for more than 50 years.
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The Government also said it would set up an arms-length body, Great British Nuclear, which would develop a pipeline of nuclear projects beyond Sizewell C.
With the Government looking to improve energy security, the investment in Sizewell C is part of £1.7billion set aside to invest in new nuclear energy by the end of 2024.
Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said last night: “Global gas prices are at record highs, caused by Putin’s illegal march on Ukraine.
“We need more clean, affordable power generated within our borders – British energy for British homes.
“Today’s historic deal giving Government backing to Sizewell C’s development is crucial to this, moving us towards greater energy independence and away from the risks that a reliance on volatile global energy markets for our supply comes with.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who announced the intention to push ahead with the project in the autumn statement, added: “Investment in Sizewell C represents the biggest step on our journey to energy independence – the first state backing for a nuclear project in over 30 years.
“Once complete, this mega project will power millions of homes with clean, affordable, home-grown energy for decades to come.
“Together with our drive to improve the nation’s energy efficiency, this package will help to permanently bring down energy bills and stop Britain being at the mercy of global gas prices beyond our control.”
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