Chinese interest proves Horizon option is attractive
27 Jun 2012
Chinese interest in Horizon Nuclear Power demonstrates that new nuclear build in the UK is still an attractive investment option, Prospect has said.
The comments follow reports that Westinghouse has joined forces with State Nuclear Power Technology China (SNPTC) to fund its bid to buy Horizon.
If successful it would take over the option to build new nuclear plants using its AP1000 reactor design at Wylfa, North Wales and Oldbury, South Gloucestershire.
To-date an anticipated rival bid looks set to be entered by French reactor builder Areva, whose EPR plant design is the only other reactor under consideration in the UK.
Areva has also teamed up with a Chinese partner – the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) while a third consortium, led by GE Hitachi, could also throw its hat in the ring.
Bids are due to be submitted to Japanese investment bank Nomura by the end of the summer. Nomura has been appointed to sell Horizon on behalf of its German owners RWE and E.On who pulled out of its plans for UK new build in March.
Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post national secretary Mike Graham said he believed Chinese investment would be essential to secure the deal, adding:
"This also shows there is great interest in investing in new nuclear with the only reason for the withdrawal of RWE and E.On being due to the German government's decision to withdraw from nuclear generation post-Fukushima – a decision which I believe their government will ultimately regret.
"My interests are in ensuring continuity of employment at Westinghouse in Chorley and their Springfields plant in Preston.
"If Westinghouse are successful with its Chinese partners this will help secure long-term employment at these sites and the supply chain."
Westinghouse is already working with SNPTC on building AP1000s as part of a nuclear new build programme in China, while Areva has built its EPR reactor on behalf of CGNPC.