China’s key role in UK nu­clear power is a ‘tick­ing time bomb’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By James Cook

CHI­NESE in­volve­ment in Bri­tish nu­clear power is a “tick­ing time bomb”, an ex­pert has warned, as MPs urge the Gov­ern­ment to scale back plans to in­volve com­pa­nies from the com­mu­nist state in new power sta­tions.

French en­ergy com­pany EDF sub­mit­ted a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in May to build the new Sizewell C nu­clear power sta­tion in Suf­folk, with China Gen­eral Nu­clear Power Group (CGN), a Chi­nese state-owned en­ergy com­pany.

CGN is also help­ing EDF to build Hink­ley Point C in Som­er­set, and will be the lead part­ner for the planned Brad­well B power sta­tion in Es­sex, us­ing its own Hua­long One tech­nol­ogy.

An­thony Glees, of the Centre for Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Buck­ing­ham, said: “It could be a tick­ing time bomb... I do not think Trump’s White House would ex­pect any­thing other from us but to say ‘no’.” For­mer Tory Party leader Sir Iain

Duncan Smith has called for a “root and branch” re­view of the UK’s de­pen­dency on China. “Our en­ergy pol­icy is in the hands of the Chi­nese,” he said. “Just in that one sec­tor, we have com­plete dom­i­na­tion by China when we should be strate­gi­cally re­view­ing it.”

The Gov­ern­ment also faces op­po­si­tion from other back­bench MPs.

Neil O’Brien MP, a co-founder of the China Re­search Group, said: “There are big ques­tions about them build­ing a nu­clear power sta­tion.”

The US gov­ern­ment placed sanc­tions on CGN last year, ac­cus­ing it of at­tempt­ing to steal US tech­nol­ogy and trans­fer­ring it to the Chi­nese mil­i­tary. CGN has de­nied all of the ac­cu­sa­tions.

An EDF spokesman said the Hink­ley Point and Sizewell sta­tions would use Euro­pean re­ac­tor tech­nol­ogy. He said it would be “for the Gov­ern­ment to de­cide who can in­vest” in the Sizewell and Brad­well sta­tions. “Our aim is for Sizewell C to be ma­jor­ity-owned by Bri­tish in­vestors,” he added.

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