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China To Own A Third Of Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station

Deal between EDF and Chinese investors set to be announced on Wednesday

The first UK nuclear power plant in a generation will be 33.5pc owned by China, with EDF set to announce a landmark deal on Hinkley Point on Wednesday.

Bosses at the French energy giant, which is building the £24.5bn station in Somerset, sealed an agreement with executives from China’s state-owned CGN just hours before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Britain for a four-day visit.

The Telegraph revealed last week that EDF and its Chinese partners were on the brink of signing a deal.

The French and Chinese companies are understood to be working on a five-pronged agreement setting out the terms of their cooperation on Hinkley; on a second EDF-led plant at Sizewell; on a Chinese-led plant at Bradwell in Essex; on cooperating to get Chinese reactor technology approved for use in the UK; and on projects elsewhere in the world.

Hinkley is expected to be fully operational in 2025, eight years later than originally planned, the Financial Times reported.

President Xi and David Cameron are due to attend a UK-China business summit on Wednesday at Mansion House, with an agreement coming two years to the day since EDF and the UK government’s heads of terms subsidy deal.

Under the subsidy deal, Hinkley’s owners will be guaranteed £92.50 for each megawatt-hour of power the plant generates for the next 35 years – roughly double the current market price of power, with the difference "topped up" by consumer-funded subsidies. If the market price of power ever exceeds the guaranteed price, which will be index-linked, EDF will pay back the difference.

EDF has been unable to attract outside investors to the Hinkley project, with group chief Jean Bernard-Levy admitting some are deterred by the example of delays and cost overruns seen in the construction of EDF’s EPR reactor design in France and Finland.

There will be no other investors in Hinkley, with EDF hoping to attract further investors and sell down its stake once construction is under way.

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