The UK and Chinese governments have signed a civil nuclear agreement that could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds to British companies over several years.
A separate landmark agreement also confirms that Chinese companies could own and operate a Chinese designed nuclear power station, provided they meet the stringent requirements of the UK’s independent regulator. Investing in nuclear will both diversify the energy mixes of both countries while playing a role in tackling climate change.
For the first time, the UK and Chinese governments have agreed a ground-breaking joint statement on climate change. This is part of broader work together to reduce emissions and enhance energy security, central to which will be achieving a global, legally binding, and ambitious climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.
Both governments recognise the threat of dangerous climate change, and committed to work towards the global agreement. Strong and growing cooperation between China and the UK extends to low carbon policies, new energy technologies, and means of financing our low carbon transitions. The UK and China have launched a joint £20 million research programme on Low Carbon Innovation, including research on offshore renewables, low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, and low carbon cities.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:
“China and the UK stand united in our plans for more collaborative working that will help to achieve long lasting energy security in our own countries. Both governments recognise that tackling climate change is fundamental to our future and have committed to reduce emissions while enhancing energy security by investing in nuclear power. The joint statement with China reflects our shared intent to re-double efforts for an ambitious global agreement and domestic solutions to climate change.”
This joint civil nuclear statement paves the way for Chinese companies to invest in Hinkley Point C, the first nuclear reactor plant to be built in the UK for a generation. The governments also agreed to better cooperation on the wider nuclear fuel supply chain cycle by working together to develop and export innovative solutions in areas such as waste treatment and decommissioning which could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds to British companies over several years.
A major new programme of collaboration has also been announced between the Met Office Hadley Centre, a leading UK climate change research centre, and the Climate Change Centre of the Chinese Meteorological Administration and the Chinese Institute of Atmospheric Physics, focussed on the climate science needed to support the development of climate services in the region.
Notes to editors
The joint UK/China statement on civil nuclear cooperation builds on a MoU signed with China in October 2013 which set out a framework of cooperation between the UK and China in the field of civil nuclear energy.
The four way MOU agreement is between DECC, INS (International Nuclear Services, the commercial arm of the NDA), CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation, whole fuel chain company and potential investor in HPC) and CAEA (China Atomic Energy Authority, the Chinese government department responsible for the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear safety and security, and international relations).
More information on the existing co-operation between UK and China on climate change and low carbon policies can be found in an accompanying note published alongside the statement.
The joint statement will be published on the GOV.UK/FCO pages.