Ministers consider ways to block China’s state-owned nuclear power firm

A general view of Sizewell B nuclear power station, Sizewell, Suffolk (Fiona Hanson/PA) (PA Archive)
23:09pm, Sun 25 Jul 2021
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China’s state-owned nuclear energy company could be blocked from all future power projects in the UK, with ministers understood to be investigating ways to prevent its involvement.

The move would exclude China General Nuclear (CGN) from the consortium planning to build the £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast, as well as one in Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

A Whitehall source confirmed a report by the Financial Times that first revealed that the Government is exploring ways of removing CGN from future projects.

The move would likely stoke further tensions between the UK and China and would also mark a toughening of Britain’s stance towards Beijing.

Then prime minister David Cameron welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Buckinghamshire country retreat Chequers (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA) (PA Archive)

It would come amid major concerns about Beijing’s clampdown in Hong Kong and the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

China’s involvement in nuclear power in the UK dates back to an agreement endorsed by then prime minister David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2015.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Nuclear power has an important role to play in the UK’s low-carbon energy future, as we work towards our world-leading target to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050.

“All nuclear projects in the UK are conducted under robust and independent regulation to meet the UK’s rigorous legal, regulatory and national security requirements, ensuring our interests are protected.”

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