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China agrees to invest US$9b in EDF nuclear project in Britain

Roads cut through the site where EDF Energy's Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will be constructed in Bridgwater, southwest England Oct 24, 2013.

[LONDON] China's CGN has agreed to invest £6 billion (US$9 billion) in French utility EDF's Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project in Britain, the companies announced on Wednesday during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain.

China General Nuclear (CGN) will take a 33.5 per cent stake in the £18 billion (US$28 billion) project in southwest England, whose start-up date has been pushed back by two years to 2025, and which will be the first nuclear new-build in Europe since the Fukushima disaster. "This decision proves that nuclear is an essential source of low-carbon electric power in Europe," EDF Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said on a conference call.

The Chinese utility has also agreed to help EDF build two more Areva-designed EPR reactors at Sizewell, east England, and EDF has agreed to help CGN win a licence to build a Chinese-designed nuclear reactor in Britain at the Bradwell site east of London.