Chinese coal miner Wintime Energy has won shareholder approval for its proposed investment in the planned UK Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN) are jointly funding the construction of two European Pressurised Water reactors (EPRs) at the plant. Wintime Energy, known as Wing Tai Energy in Chinese, on 13 December announced plans to invest up to CNY3bn ($440m) in Hinkley through a wholly owned subsidiary of New Energy, Huayuan New Energy.

In November, Wintime and China General Nuclear signed a framework agreement to form a partnership aimed at developing nuclear power and other clean energy projects worldwide. The two companies will initially develop two Westinghouse AP1000 units at Lufeng in China's Guangdong province.

In a statement on 31 December, Shanxi-based Wintime said an agreement between China Guangdong Nuclear Power, China Nuclear Power, Yongtai Energy and Huayuan New Energy had been approved at an extraordinary shareholders meeting three days earlier by representatives of China Nuclear Power, Zhongtai Holding, Yongtai Energy, Huayuan New Energy and Yi Sheng Company. The agreement was published at the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 13 December, it added.

EDF plans to invest GBP12bn in Hinkley and CGN committed at the end of 2015 to invest GBP6bn. Under a Strategic Investment Agreement announced in October 2015, EDF's share in the project will be 66.5% and CGN's 33.5%.

EDF and CGN are also working together on EPR projects in China, with two units under construction at Taishan in Guangdong province via the Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture they established in 2008.

First concrete was poured for the nuclear island of Taishan 1 in October 2009, the dome was placed on the reactor building to mark its completion two years later. The placing of the dome on the reactor building of unit 2 followed in September 2012. EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said in November last year that the two EPRs under construction at Taishan in China were about to start their commissioning phase with hot functional tests. However, they are significantly behind schedule, having originally been planned for operation in 2013 and 2014.

Photo: The proposed Hinkley Point C NPP (Credit: EDF Energy)