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CGNPC gives up joint bid for UK nuclear project

2012-10-04 10:31 China Daily     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co Ltd and French nuclear giant Areva SA have dropped out of the bidding for the UK's planned nuclear Horizon project, British media reported on Wednesday. 

The Franco-Chinese consortium did not make a final offer for the Horizon joint venture by a deadline on Friday, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the matter. 

The Daily Telegraph and Reuters both reported the development. 

The press officer of Areva confirmed the reports, telling China Daily: "AREVA and CGNPC have suspended their interest in the planned sale of Horizon Nuclear Power and did not submit a bid. AREVA remains committed to ... the development of new nuclear capacity in the UK." 

Officials at CGNPC's French office said, "We don't know the exact situation. This is our headquarters' decision." 

Areva and CGNPC were seen as one of the most credible teams bidding for the project, which could see up to six nuclear reactors built in the UK. 

Two other bids have been submitted - one from Areva competitor Westinghouse Electric Co and its parent company, Toshiba Corp; and the other from Japanese engineering firm Hitachi and Canadian counterparty SNC-Lavalin Group, according to Reuters' industry source. 

"Areva couldn't get a bid together. It's just too much of a stretch for them," said the source, who has direct knowledge of the bids. 

A winning bidder should be announced in three to five weeks, the source added. 

Horizon was put up for sale by its German owners E.ON AG and RWE AG in March, after Germany's decision to get out of nuclear power after last year's Fukushima disaster in Japan. 

The UK, seeking to replace ageing power stations and cut carbon-dioxide emissions, is one of several western European countries still pursuing new nuclear plants. 

Horizon has government support for site reactors in Wales and western England. Britain says it needs 110 billion pounds ($187 billion) by 2020 to replace atomic plants, upgrade grids and cut emissions. 

It was widely believed that Chinese energy companies had the funds to meet the estimated huge investment necessary to build the Horizon sites. 

People close to the talks, cited by the FT, said China may invest later in Horizon and other British nuclear projects. It had been linked with at least three other sites in the country. 

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