The UK Government is considering Abu Dhabi investors, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, for a significant stake in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

The move comes after the UK Government bought China General Nuclear’s 20% stake in the project with nearly £100m ($126.3m) of taxpayer’s money in September 2022. Geopolitical tensions with China prompted the removal of the state-owned company from the project.

Ministers are now searching for investors to fill the shortfall in funding. According to the Times,Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed AL Nahyan, who runs a UAE sovereign wealth fund known as Mubadala, has been approached, with a decision expected early next year.

A government source told the Times: “They are part of the mix of options but not the only viable one.”

In a press release in September, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said it was seeking investment partners “with substantial experience in the delivery of major infrastructure projects”, adding that “any investment will also be subject to strict national security checks”.

Political concerns have brought to attention the viability of the UAE sovereign wealth fund as an investment partner. Nevertheless, the government has been cultivating other investment ties with Abu Dhabi. Two years ago, Mubadala and the UK Office for Investment agreed to expand a sovereign investment partnership, with the UAE committing £10bn.

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By GlobalData

Sizewell C is a vital part of the renaissance of nuclear power in the UK, which is being orchestrated under the Great British Nuclear programme launched in July. The power plant will house two nuclear reactors generating 3.2GW of electricity, equivalent to 7% of the UK’s needs, for 60 years.

The government has already spent £700m on the development as costs continue to rise beyond initial estimates. Owing to such cost issues and uncertain rates of return on large investments, it has been difficult to attract partners.