RPT-UK to let Chinese firms have role in nuclear power projects
BEIJING Oct 17 (Reuters) - Chinese companies will be allowed to take stakes in British nuclear projects, British finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday, as Britain pushes ahead with an ambitious target to expand nuclear energy.
In a statement during a visit to China, Osborne said the two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear cooperation that also includes roles for British companies in China's nuclear programme.
"While any initial Chinese stake in a nuclear power project is likely to be a minority stake, over time stakes in subsequent new power stations could be majority stakes," the statement said.
The announcement comes as talks between the British government and French company EDF Energy on building Britain's first new nuclear power station since 1995 approach a conclusion. China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) is poised to join the project.
Osborne's statement did not refer to the EDF project. He was visiting a nuclear plant in southern China on Thursday that is a collaboration between EDF and CGNPG.
The MOU also covers training in Britain for Chinese technicians, the statement said
China has 17 nuclear reactors in operation, accounting for about 1 percent of electricity production capacity. Another 28 nuclear plants are under construction.
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