MP adds to calls for in­quiry into China’s nu­clear role

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Ed Clowes

ANOTHER se­nior Tory MP has called for an in­quiry into Chi­nese in­volve­ment in Bri­tain’s nu­clear power sta­tions amid ris­ing con­cerns over the Hink­ley Point C mega-project.

Neil O’Brien said that ur­gent ques­tions must be an­swered fol­low­ing con­flict­ing re­ports about work by state-owned con­trac­tor China Gen­eral Nu­clear (CGN) on the £22.5bn scheme.

The firm’s role was orig­i­nally thought to be lim­ited to fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment, but there are ques­tions over its ac­tions fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The Sun­day Tele­graph.

Mr O’Brien said that US reg­u­la­tors were al­ready tak­ing aim at CGN and another busi­ness, China Na­tional Nu­clear Cor­po­ra­tion, af­ter the Amer­i­can depart­ment of de­fence ac­cused them of hav­ing ties to Beijing’s mil­i­tary forces.

He said: “Both CGN and China Na­tional Nu­clear Cor­po­ra­tion have a kind of reg­u­la­tory sword of Damo­cles hang­ing over their heads. That is some­thing I’ve talked to peo­ple about get­ting more on top of.” French com­pany EDF – which is CGN’s part­ner at Hink­ley – in­sisted yes­ter­day that the Chi­nese busi­ness was not closely in­volved in man­ag­ing the project. An EDF spokesman de­nied claims by sources that the firm had been left aghast when CGN tech­ni­cians sug­gested dan­gling a 270-tonne con­crete dome over site work­ers to lift it into place.

He said: “The role of CGN is not in­creas­ing at Hink­ley Point C and at no stage did any­one on the project sug­gest lift­ing a struc­ture over work­ers, nor has there been any dis­agree­ment over the ap­proach to be taken to the dome lift. The ma­jor­ity of the work­force and sup­ply chain at Hink­ley Point C is Bri­tish.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, said at the week­end that he be­lieved min­is­ters were mis­led when they ap­proved the role of CGN in the project.

There are around 30 CGN work­ers em­ployed in the UK project team out of a to­tal of around 6,000 peo­ple, the EDF spokesman said.

Ear­lier this month, CGN claimed that it had 100 staff on site. Both com­pa­nies de­clined to com­ment on this dis­crep­ancy.

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