A deal with China General Nuclear Power Corporation has already been in the works but EDF has delayed its final decision

Chinese state energy firm considering Hinkley Point stake

The Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), backed by the Chinese state, is considering taking a stake in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

According to claims made by a CNNC official, the firm would join China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and French energy firm EDF.

The two Chinese firms together would take a 33.5 per cent stake, with the CNNC's involvement being negotiated by CGN.

"We haven't decided what percentage we are going to invest," said Xie Jiajie, CNNC's Vice President.

EDF has been struggling to find the finances to fund the £18bn project which will be one of the largest power plants in the UK providing up to seven per cent of the country’s electricity supplies.

Legal action has been threatened against the project by green groups if the French state intervenes to help EDF raise the necessary funds.

Although a financial collaboration between EDF and CGN had already been announced, only CGN signed the deal while EDF delayed its investment decision until September despite previously saying it would provide confirmation by March.

The return on any investment could amount to billions of pounds but the Chinese company said it would not announce the final figure untilEDF's final investment decision on the project is made.

The Sunday Telegraph said CNNC's involvement was likely to be controversial because of its close ties to the Chinese government.

The Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Somerset could ultimately create 25,000 jobs according to EDF.

It had been due to start producing electricity in 2023, but the recent funding delays will probably push this date back.

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