Now, one or more Chinese nuclear companies will join the £14 billion ($22.4 billion) project with somewhere between a 30 percent and 49 percent stake, according to various reports, and Hinkley Point might well proceed (I'll believe it when I see it).
If China is inclined to spend, it could help secure an energy future for the U.K., where the government would like a total of eight new nuclear plants, some with multiple reactors, to help stave off what observers say is a looming energy shortage as old plants shut down. China bid on one of those sites last year.
The problem is, the government exited the energy business back in the Margaret Thatcher era, so it has to settle for establishing policy that encourages private investment.
Osborne's decision to open the door wide - issued while on a trade visit to China - "could lead to China taking a future majority stake in the development of the next generation of British nuclear power," the BBC wrote. Earlier in the week, energy secretary Davey said, "I think it is really possible we will see massive Chinese investment, not just in nuclear but across the board." He also said that Japan and South Korea would invest.
If China does come in, perhaps it could also bring some of its advanced nuclear technologies. In addition to building conventional plants, China is developing alternative reactor types such as molten salt reactors and "fast reactors" that could improve the economics, safety and weapons-implications of commercial nuclear power.