Monday, 6 February, 2023

UK ousts China from new nuclear project Sizewell

LONDON: Britain on Tuesday ousted China General Nuclear from construction of its new Sizewell C power station, further cutting controversial economic ties with the world's second biggest economy.

The CGN announcement came one day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned that the "golden era" of UK-China relations was "over", adding Beijing posed a "systemic challenge" to UK interests and values, reports AFP.

Tuesday's announcement comes also amid a diplomatic storm over the arrest and alleged assault of a BBC journalist covering Covid protests in China.

Sunak's Conservative government is stripping CGN of its controversial 20-percent Sizewell stake under plans to form a joint venture with remaining French partner EDF.

The UK will invest £700 million ($843 million) in the project, a figure that was matched by EDF.

Sizewell C, which is under development on the Suffolk coast in eastern England, will power the equivalent of about six million homes for more than 50 years.

It is expected to start producing electricity from 2035.

Nuclear and renewables, such as offshore wind, are seen as critical to ramp up Britain's energy security, after key producer Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent household gas and electricity bills rocketing.