Commenting on today’s announcement of Chinese investment in Hinkley Point C, Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says:

"It is excellent news that the deal is finally going ahead, enabling EDF to take the final investment decision and mobilise the project at Hinkley Point. This is what the nuclear industry has been waiting for these past few years, and importantly, it will give confidence in the nuclear sector's longevity.

“Although the UK may have been behind the curve in maximising the opportunity for UK suppliers in high end manufacturing for the first one or two units, the announcement of this deal will create valuable future opportunities for UK companies and for UK civil engineering at the highest level: from speciality modelling and simulation to top end construction. By stepping up to the plate to fulfil the opportunities to become qualified suppliers of future units, they will increase their capability and capacity to globally competitive levels. 

"China has a good record in building, operating and regulating a nuclear fleet, and because of the scale of the investment made over the last 3-4 decades has an excellent skill base in designing, manufacturing and operating international nuclear power plants. Not only will China bring significant finance to enable the project at Hinkley to succeed, it will also bring a wealth of experience and lessons learned from the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) projects deployed in China, so the EPR projects here in the UK will benefit significantly. The UK can also learn from China's success in taking a long-term, strategic approach to major infrastructure projects. It is not just their nuclear industry that has benefitted: they have built other globally competitive industries as a result, such as steel and heavy manufacturing."  

Notes for Editors

  1. Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng. One of the UK’s foremost nuclear engineers, Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng chairs the EU’s Euratom Science and Technology Committee and the UK’s Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB). She has served two terms between 2004 and 2011 on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, where her contributions were acknowledged as substantial in its energy-related work. Dame Sue was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996, and in 2014 received the President’s Medal for her outstanding service to the nuclear industry, the Academy and the world of engineering.
    Dame Sue Ion becomes first woman to win RAEng President’s medal
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation; address the engineering skills crisis; position engineering at the heart of society; lead the profession.

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Aaron Boardley