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What does the new nuclear agreement announced between UK and China really mean?

08:17 22 October 2015

China's President Xi Jinping and  Prime Minister David Cameron attend a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London on the second day of his state visit to the UK Suzanne Plunkett  /PA Wire

China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron attend a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London on the second day of his state visit to the UK Suzanne Plunkett /PA Wire

Chinese investment in nuclear power was the centrepiece of a visit where Prime Minister David Cameron and President Xi Jinping hailed a “golden age” in the relationship between their two countries.

The long-anticipated four-page nuclear “Statement of Co-operation” moves the Somerset plan for Hinkley Point C a step closer, and with it Sizewell C and a new power station in Bradwell.

But it is non-binding and has no legal status. There are still final decisions to be made by EDF in Somerset and Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, will only confirm the price the Government will guarantee for nuclear energy when a full investment decision is signed. At £18bn, it is hard work finding the cash to build new nuclear power stations.

International or government investments appear to be only options after Centrica pulled out of nuclear new build projects in 2013.

The move has its critics, among them security sources concerned about cyber attacks.

And statements about “maximising” the economic and social benefits for local communities and the UK, and assurances it will be “safe and secure” were also designed to ally fears of going into business with the Chinese.

The importance of this agreement was reflected in the fact that it was left to the two heads of government to announce it to the world.

From Grand State Banquet at Buckingham Palace to the red carpet which was rolled out at Number 10, the VIP treatment has been laid on for Chinese President Xi.

As Chinese President Xi made clear, it is hoped this agreement could be the start of something. He knows that the country’s reputation will be on the line and there is a lot at stake.

For Mr Cameron, desperate to address our dwindling energy supplies and sign big business deals, there was much talking up of relations which he said had “improved significantly” since he first met the Chinese President eight years ago.

“The more we trade together, the more we have a stake in each others’ success and the more we understand each other, the more we can work together to confront the problems that face our world today.”

The sub-text is the hope that Chinese billions will come to the rescue of nuclear project which have so far failed to get off the ground.

7 comments

  • Well done we have now sold out to the chinese

    Report this comment

    peter lee

    Friday, October 23, 2015

  • This deal will add £33,- per annum on to our bills. Compare this with alternative energy production, without the dangerous legacies, that would cost us £6,- per year. Sounds still a good deal?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, October 23, 2015

  • Peter Watson don't you mean the tories are the originators the shafting? This deal hasn't been done in 5 minutes it has been planned as part of the long term plan to neuter the country. Also in the HoC yesterday the tories voted for English only votes on English laws which means they will be able to strip the country bare put social conditions back to the 18th century whcih I contend has been the tories aim for a long while now they are close to realising their dream.

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Friday, October 23, 2015

  • From now on the UK is the client state of the Peoples Republic of China after the Chinese walked all over the Bullingdon Boys in the biggest ever smash and grab raid of the country's assets.Mrs Thatcher must be turning in her grave.At least we will no longer need NATO now the UK comes under the protective umbrella of China,protecting their asset base.Nevertheless,the Tories have allowed this country to be shafted.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

  • cameron must be proud of himself . He has just sold out thousands of uk steel jobs for chinese investment . We have become a dumping ground for cheap subsidised chinese steel which is closing down all the steel plants in the uk . These people who are losing their jobs will still remain voters and they will never forget this betrayal.

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

  • One word describes this = stupidity. The cost is unsustainable, predecessors to this type of development are currently runng X6 & X7 over budget which, if repeated means the three nuclear power station will cost circa £300 Bn, what comes out will not be affordable but this governemtn has agreed to underwrite the profits whihc means another massive risk to the taxpayers for private OR French Chinese government profits. I hope those who voted this shower in are going to stand up to be counted.

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

  • The UK has no need for nuclear power at all, its a City of London racket which deprives the country of knowhow and the future of our children, a disaster. Who would have known that the UK will become a Chinese province. I'm currently researching the history of Chinese nuclear power and its riddled with costly mistakes. There are 30 nuclear power stations built currently in China and I expect Britain to monitor their latest versions and development, see whether they learn from their past mistakes and rectify them, before we let them loose In Bradwell and our nuclear addicted Leiston.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

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