After 5G, the UK government will seek to exclude Chinese manufacturer CGN from all of its current and future nuclear projects according to the Financial Times. A problem for EDF, of which CGN is a financial partner across the channel.
“The UK government is looking at ways to exclude the state-owned Chinese nuclear power company China General Nuclear (CGN) from all future energy projects in the UK, including the consortium to build the new £20 billion (€23.4 billion) Sizewell nuclear power plant. in Suffolk,” states in his copy of 26 July financial times.
According to “people close to the discussions”, quoted by a leading daily in the London financial center, this upcoming decision will be linked to the cooling of relations between China and the United Kingdom in recent years, due to the differences between the two countries. On the administration of the former British colony of Hong Kong, the initial handling of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan and the alleged suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
As early as April 2020, the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced that the UK could no longer continue to “do business as if nothing had happened” with Beijing due to its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most vocal move in London was the decision to ban Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei from the UK’s 5G network.
to me financial times The decision to reconsider its nuclear energy partnership with Beijing comes at a time when “the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia are increasingly seeking to prevent China from acquiring sensitive technologies, and to protect their supply chains or critical infrastructure from reliance on Chinese technology.”
Collaboration dating back to 2015
Cooperation with China in nuclear energy dates back to an agreement reached in 2015, agreed by David Cameron, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Chinese President Xi Jinping. This agreement provided for CGN to become a 20% partner in the development of the Sizewell plant on the Suffolk coast (east of England), with the option to co-construct it. It also shut down Chinese investment in the French tech EPR nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, which EDF is struggling to complete construction in Somerset (southwest of England).
Under the agreement, CGN has also become the lead developer of the Bradwell power plant project in Essex (East London), where it plans to use its Hualong HPR1000 reactor technology. The design is in the process of regulatory approval in the UK, but according to the Financial Daily, the project is now doomed to fail. In addition, discussions are already underway with EDF to see if the French public energy company will be able to find new partners for the Hinkley point project.
When asked by Reuters, Britain’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) declined to comment directly on the article in financial times Just pointing out that nuclear power plays an important role in the UK’s low carbon energy future. “All nuclear projects in the UK are carried out under strong and independent regulations to meet the UK’s stringent legal, regulatory and national security requirements, ensuring our interests are protected,” added the door. Reuters quoted the BEIS letter.
Contacted by RT France, EDF was not immediately available to confirm discussions to find an alternative to CGN as the financial partner for the Hinkley point project mentioned in the article at financial times. On the other hand, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded with the voice of its spokesperson Zhao Lijian, reported by Reuters, who declared that “the British should provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.” To clarify: “China and Britain are important trading and investment partners for each other […] It is in the interest of both sides to conduct practical cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit and win-win outcome.”
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