UK nuclear power: The next Huawei? Once a key part of the UK’s energy plans, nuclear power faces rising costs, cheaper renewables and domestic opposition. It also finds itself at the center of a row between London and Beijing that could prove fatal. London’s relations with China — hailed as entering a “golden era” only four years ago — have deteriorated badly over Hong Kong, hitting a nadir when the UK finally bowed to US pressure to ditch Huawei’s involvement in its new-generation internet (5G) rollout. In late 2019, the US published a list of companies linked to the Chinese military, and after Huawei came the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). The state-owned Chinese firm has invested 3.8 billion pounds (€4.1 billion, $4.3 billion) in Britain to date, mainly in the Hinkley Point nuclear plant under construction in Somerset, southwest England, and the Sizewell plant in eastern England. It is also seeking UK regulatory approval to build its own nuclear reactor at Bradwell in Essex, east of London. China warned the UK it would face “consequences if it chooses to be a hostile partner” after London announced its Huawei’s decision. Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, reportedly said China could cut its backing for UK nuclear plants altogether.
Deutsche Welle 21st Aug 2020 read more »
Steve Thomas, a professor of energy policy at London’s University of Greenwich, said CGN’s nuclear ambitions in Britain were “an important step” in showcasing the Chinese group’s technology to the rest of the world. “All CGN wanted from the UK was the prestige and endorsement,” he told AFP. With China the lead partner in the Bradwell project, Thomas said UK approval “will be a political decision”. Blocking the plant’s construction could threaten CGN’s involvement in Hinkley or Sizewell, he added. “It depends how angry the Chinese government is… and whether it wants to punish the UK,” Thomas said. Such action would be extremely costly also in terms of numbers, with the final bill for Hinkley estimated at up to £22.5 billion.
France24 21st Aug 2020 read more »