(Bloomberg) -- Investors in the UK’s next nuclear power plant, Sizewell C, will face “strict national security checks” by the government, after the state last year bought out a Chinese company’s stake in the project.

Britain opened the private investment process on Monday for the 3.2 gigawatt nuclear power plant that’s being built by Electricite de France SA. Companies will have to demonstrate that they meet key criteria before starting negotiations on Sizewell C, including experience in delivering major infrastructure projects, according to a statement.

The UK is particularly sensitive about which countries it allows into its nuclear infrastructure. The administration last year took over China General Nuclear Power Corp.’s stake in EDF’s Sizewell project following concerns over national security. Still, being too picky may make it difficult to get investors for the projects that need billions of dollars of spending, and also brings the risk of cost overruns and delays. 

“Ministers will be looking for private investors who can add value to the project and will only accept private investment if it provides value for money, while bolstering energy security,” the government said in a statement.

The UK has set a target of building 24 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2050, a huge ambition that has been met with skepticism. EDF is already building Hinkley Point C, the first new atomic station in more than three decades. The project is running over budget and is facing a 15-month delay after construction setbacks. 

The two reactors at Hinkley Point C, costing as much as £32 billion ($40 billion) combined, are due to start operating in 2027 and 2028. Sizewell C is likely to need similar spending, although EDF says it can cut costs by repeating some construction processes.

Companies have until October 9 to apply for pre-qualification. After that the bidding phase will begin, the government said.

(Adds date for submissions in final paragraph.)

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