Chinese consortia want to take over Horizon Nuclear Power

Two Chinese consortia are considering investing in the UK’s nuclear build programme, according to press reports.

The Financial Times reports that both China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGNP) are interested in partnering with Japanese firm Toshiba to buy the Horizon Nuclear Power project, which was put up for sale by its German owners in March.

German energy firms E.ON and RWE Npower said they would pull out of the project, which has licences to build plants at two sites in the UK, after Germany mothballed its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima reactor disaster.

The Times reports that the SNPTC had already offered to buy a 60% stake before the sale was announced and is now approaching US firm Exelon about joining its bid to buy the whole project.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Tim Yeo, MP, chair of the commons energy committee, attacked the Department of Energy and Climate Change for being “weak” and risking the UK’s future energy supply.

He is reported to have said “the real risk is that we could see the lights go out” and that the department was a “junior partner” in negotiations with the less green but more powerful Treasury.

Yeo’s attack on DECC comes after commercial secretary to the Treasury Lord Sassoon announced last week, at a conference hosted by EDF, that he had accepted an invitation by Number 10 to become the first point of contact within government for the big energy companies, which seemingly weakens further DECC’s hand.