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British nuclear plans suffer blow as Chinese investors pull out via the guardian

Two new nuclear projects in UK the suffer as firms in running to buy a stake pull out

The government’s nuclear energy plans were in trouble as Chinese investors withdrew interest in two projects and local councils postponed a decision on storing atomic waste.

Areva, the French nuclear engineering group, confirmed that it had pulled out of the running to buy a stake in Horizon Nuclear Power, the enterprise planning to construct new reactors at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. Areva said its partner, the state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC), had also shelved its bid.

“Areva and CGNPC have suspended their interest in the planned sale of Horizon Nuclear Power and did not submit a bid,” an Areva spokeswoman said, adding that the company was still committed to new nuclear in the UK through other avenues.

This is a blow for the government because Areva is at an advanced stage in getting regulatory approval for the design of its European pressurised reactor (EPR), while the Chinese are considered to have the deepest pockets.

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Any total withdrawal of the Chinese from Horizon will put more pressure on Westinghouse, now owned by Toshiba, and Hitachi, whose nuclear technology is not yet near any licensing approval for use in the UK.

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