The Government has given the green light for a new nuclear power plant £ 18 billion in the UK after imposing “new and important safeguards” to protect national security.
The new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is being funded by the French and the Chinese.
In return, China wants to use his design of new nuclear plants in the UK.
The Chinese welcomed the decision, saying they were not concerned about the new rules on future projects.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of group of French company EDF, which is building the plant, said: “The decision by the British Government to approve the construction of Hinkley Point C marks the relaunch of nuclear energy in Europe.”
The government said it now would “impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure of Great Britain”.
Critics of the deal have warned of rising costs and implications of nuclear power plants under construction in the UK by foreign governments. France’s EDF is funding two thirds of the project, which will create more than 25,000 jobs, with China invest the remaining £ 6,000 million.
The Chinese agreed to take a stake in Hinkley and develop a new nuclear power station Sizewell in Suffolk, on the understanding that the UK government would approve a project spearheaded by China and designed in Bradwell in Essex, which has raised questions about national security .
In a statement, the government said: “After Hinkley, the British Government will make a special participation in all future projects of new nuclear construction This will ensure that is important game can not be sold without the knowledge or consent of the Government.”.
He added: “There will be reforms in the government’s approach to ownership and control of critical infrastructure to ensure that all the implications of foreign ownership are examined for purposes of national security.”
Chinese state-owned General Nuclear Corporation (CGN), said: “We are delighted that the British Government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear plant in a generation.
“We are now able to move forward and provide much-needed nuclear capacity in Hinkley Point, Sizewell and Bradwell with our strategic partners, EDF, and the UK provide low energy safe, reliable and sustainable carbon.”
Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, told the BBC: “I think it was right for a new government to seriously consider all components of the offer.
“What we have decided is that for critical infrastructure in general, we want to ensure that our powers in this country are comparable to those of others, to ensure that national security considerations are taken into account.”
He added: “So what we’ve done here in Hinkley required to EDF, the main operator, guarantees – makes a commitment – which will not have its participation without the government’s consent unless and until the plant is and builds. future all nuclear power plants will be subject to the same regime. ”
Analysis: Simon Jack, editor of BBC business
It’s a yes – with ropes.
A new agreement means that the government will be able to block the sale of the majority stake in EDF’s Hinkley. The government will also have a special or “golden share” in all future new nuclear projects. This will ensure that is important game can not be sold without the knowledge or consent of the government.
There will also be greater scrutiny of the national security implications of foreign ownership of critical infrastructure. There is no specific mention of China’s plans to design and build its own reactor to Bradwell, but the Chinese company CGN welcomed this decision and sources close to the company say they will press ahead with its ambitions Bradwell under these new rules confidence.
The price of electricity, the parties involved and the future of nuclear power in the UK all look the same. Which generate some ask what has really accomplished the opinion hiatus since July surprise.
The government has not altered the guaranteed payment of £ 92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated. Energy Minister Shadow, Barry Gardiner said it was “too high a price” and should have been renegotiated.
Claire Jakobsson, head of climate and environment at EEF, the manufacturers organization, said it was a relief to see the project moving forward “after months of delays and uncertainty”.
“However, this project clearly requires a lot of support and it remains to be seen whether this agreement is able to offer value for money. If the new nuclear have to continue to play an important role there to get significant price reductions exercise for projects future, “he added.
Josh Hardie, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, called the announcement “good news”, adding: “. Investors are hungry for more signals from the government that the UK is open for business”
The investment decision was approved by the board of EDF in July, and agreed in principle with China during the state visit of President Xi Jinping in the UK in October 2015.