LONDON/PARIS: Britain is set to sign a deal with France’s EDF for the first nuclear plant to start construction in Europe since Japan’s Fukushima disaster raised safety concerns worldwide, at a cost estimated at around
Under the deal, expected to be announced today, the French utility will lead a consortium, including a Chinese group, to construct two European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) designed by France’s Areva. Industry estimates, based on other nuclear projects, put the cost at around £14bn.
EDF’s long-time partner China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), possibly in combination with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), is expected to have a 30 to 40 percent stake in the consortium, with Areva taking another 10 percent, according to newspapers including France’s Les Echos and Britain’s Sunday Telegraph. EDF and the British prime minister’s office declined to comment on the media reports.
The two reactors, each with a capacity of 1.6 gigawatts, would together make up nearly five percent of British generating capacity and increase energy security in the country, which needs to replace 20 percent of its ageing and polluting power plants over the coming decade.
The project is a boost for the global nuclear industry, which has seen projects cancelled since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.