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Chinese-backed consortia reportedly interested in UK's nuclear new build programme

26 June 2012

Following the decision in March by German utilities RWE and E.on to withdraw from plans to build plants at Wylfa on Anglesey and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, and put their Horizon, nuclear joint venture up for sale, well-placed observers say three consortia are interested in acquiring the joint venture.

One of Horizon's most valuable assets is the Wylfa nuclear site on Anglesey
One of Horizon's most valuable assets is the Wylfa nuclear site on Anglesey

French firm Areva has submitted a bid with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co (CGNPC), which has already opted to use Areva’s reactor design in its Taishan power plant in China.

Westinghouse, owned by Japan’s Toshiba, has submitted a bid with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), with which it has a partnership to build plants in China.

It is thought GE Hitachi could be a third bidder.

All these companies have declined to comment and it is unclear whether the bids for Horizon - likely to be several hundred million pounds - would cover the costs that RWE and E.on had already invested in the company.

RWE and E.on had planned to invest £15bn in Horizon, but abandoned their plans after Germany decided to withdraw early from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

E.on is claiming €8bn from the German government in compensation for losses on investments and RWE is also believed to be making a multi-billion euro claim. Both utilities embarked on major divestment programs to shore up their balance sheets after the decision.

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