The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

China marketing nuclear technology etc to Czech Republic

Buy-China-nukes-1China, Czech pledge closer nuclear power, finance cooperation BEIJING, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka pledged to boost cooperation in nuclear power, finance and other sectors during talk on Friday.

“China’s nuclear power technology and equipment are safe and inexpensive, which has made them competitive globally,” Li said, adding that the Chinese side is willing to participate in Czech’s nuclear power business.

Sobotka, who is making his first official visit to China, said he welcomes China’s participation in Czech’s nuclear power business. He added that the two sides can study the feasibility of conducting nuclear power cooperation in markets outside of the two territories.

Earlier this week, Sobotka attended the fourth summit of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries in east China’s Suzhou city, where Li proposed to set up a multilateral financial firm between China and the 16 CEE countries.

On the financial front, Li said on Friday that he hopes China and Czech will innovate and expand the mode of financial cooperation within the framework if the “16+1” financial firm in discussion, which he said will strongly support practical cooperation between the two countries.

China stands ready to talk with Czech on establishing a RMB settlement mechanism in Prague, Li added……..

November 30, 2015 Posted by | China, EUROPE, marketing | Leave a comment

Did China dump nuclear trash in Northern Sudan?

radioactive trashflag-ChinaSudan: Govt Urged to Investigate ‘Nuclear Waste Dumping’   Khartoum / Merowe — The Sudanese Parliament and the Communist Party of Sudan (CpoS) have called on the government to “immediately investigate the burial of nuclear waste” from China in the Northern State. The director of the governmental Dams Implementation Unit has strongly denied the “presence of containers with chemicals or harmful substances to Sudan from any other country”.

The former director of the Sudan Atomic Energy Commission in Sudan, Mohamed Siddig, said at a conference in Khartoum last Tuesday that 60 containers with nuclear waste were brought from China to Sudan during the construction of the Merowe Dam in the Northern State.

Siddig told the audience that 40 containers were buried in the desert not far from the Merowe Dam construction site. Another 20 containers were disposed of in the desert. He did not mention the date the waste was dumped, however China worked on the dam between 2004 and 2009. On Sunday, the spokesman for the caucus of the independent MPs, Mubarak El Nur, called for an immediate investigation into the alleged crime. The perpetrators should be brought to justice, he stressed.

The chairman of the Northern State’s parliamentary Services Committee, Ali Hassan Bateik, said that the northern MPs will also demand an investigation into the rapid rise of cancer and kidney failure in the region

Medics  The medical contingent of the Communist Party demanded that the government disclose the exact sites of the 60 Chinese containers.

In a statement on Sunday, the doctors emphasise the need for holding those involved in the operation accountable: “Charge them with murder, and sentence them to maximum penalties”.

The medics also blame the government for keeping silent on the growing number of people in the area who suffer from kidney failure or cancer.

Rumours The director of the governmental Dams Implementation Unit, Jaafar Mohamed Hammad, however, strongly denied the “presence of containers with chemicals or harmful substances to Sudan from any other country”.

He told the Sudan News Agency (Suna) in Khartoum last week that he will take legal action “against those who spread the rumours” about the dumping of Chinese nuclear waste in the Northern State.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | AFRICA, China, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment

China’s authoritarian nuclear push meets community opposition

China’s authoritarian government, adept at corralling public opinion to get its way, can ram through its plans over the objections of people like Ms. Liu. But opponents say its closed, secretive political system is ill equipped to manage a rapid expansion of nuclear power, pointing to its struggle to prevent industrial disasters such as the chemical explosions in Tianjin in August that killed 173 people.


“The Chinese are beginning to wrestle with the same issues that Western countries were dealing with, concerning fear of the technology, transparency in decision making and trust of the authorities,”

Opponents of nuclear power in China maintain that the country can achieve its clean energy goals without a nuclear building spree, by investing heavily in improving solar and wind power and by upgrading the power grid so it can send electricity more efficiently across vast distances.

They point to the deadly explosions in Tianjin, where hazardous chemicals appear to have been stored improperly at a facility close to residential areas, as an example of how of lax regulation, graft and official obfuscation can undo the Chinese government’s promises to put safety first.

China’s Nuclear Vision Collides With Villagers’ Fears, NYT By CHRIS BUCKLEYNOV. 21, 2015“………..Hubin is one of dozens of sites across the country where officials have plans ready, awaiting further approval, to build atomic reactors over the next decade — an ambitious program to expand the use of nuclear energy that Beijing considers essential to weaning the Chinese economy from its reliance on coal-fired plants, which churn out air pollution and carbon dioxide.

Ask villagers here what they think of the proposed plant, though, and talk quickly turns to the Communist government’s dismal record of industrial accidents, as well as the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. Residents in Hubin will be resettled to new homes a few miles away, but many said that they would still feel threatened living so close to a nuclear station.

“It’s just not safe,” said Liu Shimin, a farmer in her 20s, nursing a baby outside her home near the banks of the Yahe River. “We’ll always be wondering, ‘What if there’s a big accident, like that one in Japan?’ ”

Such fears are on the rise in China as the nation embarks on a new phase of nuclear power construction that could make it the world’s biggest producer of nuclear energy by 2030. Continue reading

November 23, 2015 Posted by | China, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

China to finance and build two nuclear stations in Argentina

Buy-China-nukes-1China to build two nuclear plants in Argentina in $15bn deal,, Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and John-Paul Rathbone, Latin America Editor , 17 Nov 15

China will finance and build two nuclear power plants in Argentina in a deal worth up to $15bn underlining Beijing’s continued presence in Latin America despite its slowing economy.

The deal comes amid a push to export China’s homegrown atomic technology, often by offering cheap technology and generous financing. It follows China’s move last month to take a one-third stake in a French-led project to build the first in a new generation of UK nuclear plants.

The agreement with Argentina, signed in Turkey during the G20 meetings, will see China provide most of the financing for the two new plants at a time when Buenos Aires is locked out of global credit markets……..
The first plant will cost about $6bn and use Canadian “Candu” nuclear technology, while the second will use China’s homegrown Hualong One reactor, which Beijing is promoting for export……

Buenos Aires has been one of Beijing’s larger clients, with $19bn of lending for Chinese-led infrastructure projects since 2007, according to the Inter-American Dialogue’s China database.

Although China has started to scale back its exposure to more risky Latin American borrowers, such as Venezuela, it provided an $11bn currency swap arrangement last year to bolster Argentina’s sagging reserves.

Both reactors will be built by state-owned China National Nuclear Corp in co-operation with Argentina’s state-owned Nucleoeléctrica. When finished, they will roughly double the country’s nuclear power capacity provided by its existing three nuclear plants.

Chinese banks and companies will provide loans and investment to cover 85 per cent of the projects’ costs, with the loans to be paid back over 18 years with an annual interest rate below 6.5 per cent, according to Argentine media.

CNNC’s domestic state-owned rival, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), will apply to UK regulators next year for approval of its similar nuclear power technology as it seeks to build more plants in Britain.

CGN has already agreed to take a one-third stake in the French group EDF’s £18bn Hinkley Point power station, and wants to build a series of new reactors in the UK.

Analysts say success in exporting its nuclear technology to Britain will help China sell more nuclear plants around the world because of the perceived rigour of the UK’s regulatory regime.

“We have our first foot in the UK,” Zheng Dongshan, senior vice-president at CGN, told the Financial Times during a visit to the UK last month. “This could have a good effect to kick the door of other countries.”

Chinese economic planners have identified more than 60 countries between China and Europe as potential customers. They hope to provide 30 of the 200 nuclear plants they estimate will be under construction in those countries by 2030……

In recent years Beijing has stepped in to provide financing and investment to several countries locked, like Argentina, out of international credit markets or shunned by global investors because of war, sanctions or corruption.

Latin America has been an area of particular interest to China because of the ruling Communist party’s desire to expand Chinese influence into America’s traditional “backyard”.

…… Some in Argentina have raised concerns about the country’s growing reliance on China and Buenos Aires’ decision to sign the deals just before a presidential electoral runoff, after which Ms Fernández will step down at the end of her second term…….

November 18, 2015 Posted by | China, marketing, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Argentina to buy nuclear technology from China

Buy-China-nukes-1Argentina says signs nuclear plant construction deals with China, Reuters,  BUENOS AIRES Nov 15 Argentina has signed two nuclear power plant construction deals with China for about $15 billion, the Argentine government said in a statement on Sunday, calling the deals “a fundamental step toward diversifying our energy matrix.”…...”Between both deals we are talking about financing of close to $15 billion” over 18 years, the Argentine statement said. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Leslie Adler)

November 16, 2015 Posted by | China, marketing, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

A boon for bankers (but no-one else) – UK’s China Hinkley Point nuclear deal

flag-UKthe decision to involve Chinese companies – initially with EDF at Hinkley Point and then on their own at Bradwell and Sizewell – only makes sense if it is seen as part of a quid pro quo for the previously announced financial services deal.

flag-ChinaThey put the Chinese Communist Party and military at the heart of strategic infrastructure. They interlink the British and Chinese financial systems at a time when the latter is structurally weak, poorly regulated, and struggling with corruption.

uranium-enrichmentBritain’s nuclear deal with China is a boon for bankers – and no one else,
The Conversation,  November 6, 2015 At first glance, it seems an almost inexplicable paradox. A right-wing British government has invited companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party – and in one case, the Chinese military – into the heart of the UK’s strategically vital energy infrastructure. The nuclear deal between Britain and China goes against the advice of the security services, the military and the US government.

So to explain this paradox, we must look carefully at another major deal in the British government’s flirtation with President Xi Jinping: the inter-penetration of the two countries’ financial services.

There would seem to be no possible connection between Chinese companies building and operating nuclear power stations in 2020s Britain and a curious political role created in 1571. But the fact that the Remembrancer, a representative of the City of London Corporation, is allowed to attend and monitor debates in the House of Commons, says much about Britain’s priorities.

When considering economic and budgetary policy, the Remembrancer is at hand to ensure that our elected representatives remember that, whatever other interests they might serve, the needs of financial services must be paramount. And the near-invisible hand of the Remembrancer seems recently to have been at work ensuring that Britain’s infrastructure is made accessible to Chinese state-owned companies. Continue reading

November 6, 2015 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

France invites China in, to save failed nuclear corporation AREVA

Buy-China-nukes-1France’s nuclear-reactor maker Areva open to Chinese funds, says French President Francois Hollande, South China Morning Post,   Zhen 3 Nov 15 It’s natural to involve China in Areva’s planned restructuring as the two nations cooperate to build nuclear plants, says French President French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that France welcomed Chinese investment in its state-owned nuclear-reactor maker Areva, as he wrapped up his two-day trip to China.

“We welcome foreign capital in the Areva restructuring. It would not affect our sovereignty,” Hollande said in Beijing.

On Monday, Areva and the China National Nuclear Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding for possible partnership on nuclear-waste recycling that could be worth €20 billion (HK$171 billion).

Hollande said that as China and France had become partners building nuclear plants together in Britain and China, it was natural to have the Chinese in the Areva recapitalisation. Last month, French utility company EDF came to an agreement with Chinese nuclear company CGN to jointly build the Hinkley Point nuclear plants in Britain.

Despite the continuous nuclear cooperation, Hollande said his two-day China trip focused more on climate change issues to ensure success in the upcoming UN round of climate talks to be held in Paris next month……..

November 4, 2015 Posted by | China, France, politics international | Leave a comment

Call for Hong Gong to end nuclear energy imports when contract ends

Hong Kong should end nuclear energy imports after Daya Bay contract ends in 2034, Greenpeace says, South China Morning Post Group says ‘business  as usual’ approach not enough and urges greater use of renewables, 04 November, 2015, Ernest Kao  

Hong Kong should get rid of nuclear power in its energy mix as part of a long-term strategy not only to make the city safer but to help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, an environmental group says.

By halting nuclear energy imports after the 20-year supply contract with the Daya Bay plant ends in 2034, along with reducing electricity use by one per cent each year and boosting renewable energy use to 10 per cent, Greenpeace calculated an emissions cut of 34 per cent could be achievable…..

November 4, 2015 Posted by | China, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

China far from being nuclear industry hope, could be its nightmare

Just how safe is China anyway? Now if China had a fantastic record of safety in its construction and other industries, maybe the odds should be made a bit longer….

Cheap? Some scepticism is in order How do we know what these reactors really cost? The fact is, we don’t. With China’s nuclear corporations under the control of various organs of state including the Communist Party and the Peoples Liberation Army, official statistics and accounts can simply not be relied upon…..

Nuclear construction in China must be cheaper than in the US and Europe due to lower labour costs. But if it really is that much cheaper it can only be at a huge safety penalty……

Tsunami risk – not if but when…….

The only good news in all this is that nuclear construction in China is not proceeding anything like as fast as Forbes magazine claims. Most of the more modern ‘Generation III’ reactors are well behind in their completion times, echoing the European experience with the failed EPR design.

Fukuzilla? China’s nuclear boom threatens global catastrophe Oliver Tickell 28th October 2015 


China’s plans for 400 nuclear reactors threaten global catastrophe, writes Oliver Tickell. In the normal way of things we could expect major accidents every few years, but with 300 reactors along China’s seismically active coast, a major tsunami would be a Fukushima on steroids – wiping out much of China and contaminating the whole planet. Continue reading

October 29, 2015 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

Apple developing huge solar investment in China

sunApple steps up solar power investment in China October 22, 2015 Alex Nussbaum “The time for action is now:” Apple chief Tim Cook. The move will make Apple’s operations in China carbon-neutral, the company says.

Apple will build an additional 200 megawatts of solar power in China and push suppliers to make similar commitments, as the maker of the iPad and Apple Watch seeks to offset its global-warming emissions in the world’s most polluting country.

The solar investment comes atop two previously announced solar farms in southern China that have now been completed, producing a combined 40 megawatts of power, Apple said in a statement overnight. The company will also partner with suppliers, including iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Group, on an additional 2 gigawatts of solar, wind and hydropower projects.

“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said. “We believe passionately in leaving the world better than we found it and hope that many other suppliers, partners and other companies join us in this important effort.”

The promises are part of Apple’s efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and come ahead of a United Nations summit in Paris later this year where world leaders will try to reach a global deal on reining in climate-change pollution. China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gases, has promised to almost double the amount of energy it gets from renewable and nuclear power by 2030.

Apple said in April that it would partner with US-based SunPower Corp. to build the two generating stations in Sichuan province. The new solar farms produce more power than Apple’s operations consume in China, making the company “carbon neutral,” it claims. The 200 megawatts of new investments will involve construction in northern, eastern and southern China and “will begin to offset the energy used in Apple’s supply chain.”

Foxconn will construct 400 megawatts of solar by 2018 as part of the initiative with suppliers, starting in Henan province. Foxconn has committed to generate as much renewable energy as its Zhengzhou factory uses in final production of the iPhone, Apple said.


October 24, 2015 Posted by | China, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Details emerge on UK’s nuclear deal with China

China to take one-third stake in £24bn Hinkley nuclear power station Details unveiled of deal signed between state-owned companies from China and France to build world’s most expensive plant on UK soil, Guardian, , 20 Oct 15  China will take a one-third stake in a French-led project to build a new £24bn nuclear power station in the UK at Hinkley Point in Somerset, expected to be the most expensive ever built.

The deal was signed between state-owned companies from China and France just hours before the Chinese president, Xi Jinping , arrived in London for a state visit, and is due to be announced on Wednesday.

It will lead to a final investment decision – the point of no return – by the end of 2015, according to the Financial Times.

The companies – France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation – will be the only investors, having failed to attract others. The new completion date for the two reactors at Hinkley Point is 2025, eight years later than first suggested. The deal is strongly backed by the chancellor, George Osborne.  The government believes the new plant, which would deliver 7% of the UK’s electricity, represents good value for low-carbon electricity which, barring problems, is always on.

The plant has been promised £92 per megawatt hour (MWh) for 35 years, double today’s average wholesale electricity price, with any shortfall being paid by consumers via household energy bills. Hinkley Point will also be backed by up to £17bn of UK government loan guarantees.

The deal signed this week is also expected to mention Chinese involvement on additional nuclear plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. China hopes to build 110 nuclear power plants at home and wants to use its own designs at Bradwell as a showcase to help it sell its technology further afield.

But the nuclear push has many criticsover its cost, the time it takes to build and the possible threats to the UK’s national security of having China in control of a plant on UK soil. Osborne’s father-in-law, former energy minister Lord Howell, said the project was “one of the worst deals ever” for British consumers and industry.

Howell, and others, have warned the reactor design planned for Hinkley C has never been completed successfully, pointing to huge cost and time overruns at EDF’s projects at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland .

EDF needs the Chinese investment as it is burdened with high levels of debt and is expected to sell €10bn of assets in the next five years, according to the Financial Times. Earlier in October, two of the world’s biggest ratings agencies warned the company it faced credit-rating downgrades if Hinkley Point goes ahead.

Greenpeace poll this week showed 29% of the UK public supports the Hinkley project, with 34% against it.

A protest camp was set up outside the site this week and Alan Jeffery, a spokesman for the Stop Hinkley campaign said: “We remain mystified about why Osborne wants to throw good money after bad on this project. In the process, he has devastated the UK’s burgeoning renewable energy industry, threatening up to 20,000 jobs in the process. He is doing his best to kill off an innovative industry of the future in order to keep alive a technology of the past.”

However, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers have welcomed the Hinkley plan. “Nuclear is set to play a central and vital role in the UK’s energy future,” said the IME’s Jenifer Baxter. “Although the financial costs of nuclear power seem high, this power station will provide and modernise the diversification we so badly need in ensuring the UK’s lights stay on.”

October 23, 2015 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Chinese firm seeking to build nuclear in UK has history of errors in construction

Errors revealed at Chinese nuclear firm seeking to invest in UK plants, Guardian, , 19 Oct 15 Huge quantity of protective steel was left out of initial construction of China General Nuclear Corp’s first reactor, built close to Hong Kong in 1987. One of the Chinese nuclear power firms pushing for a stake in the UK’s energy industry left out hundreds of critical steel rods when building its first reactor nearHong Kong in 1987 because workers misread the blueprint.

The missing parts were added in a higher layer of the foundation, with extra steel to reinforce them, after the extraordinary mistake was discovered. The plant has now been operating safely for more than two decades.

But the nature and scale of the error raises serious questions about the rigour of Chinese nuclear firms and the country’s oversight regime, experts say.

“[This a prospective] partner who, when they built the first nuclear power station in China, forgot to put in a large percentage of the protective steel,” said Professor Steve Tsang, senior fellow of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University. “Potentially we are putting ourselves in a very difficult situation.”

China General Nuclear Corp built and runs Daya Bay nuclear plant in Shenzhen. It is one of two Chinese power firms expected to invest in the UK’s Hinkley Point power station and potentially build and operate a future nuclear plant, along with China National Nuclear Corporation and French firm EDF.

Chancellor George Osborne, on a trade mission to China last month, said the government would provide £2bn in initial financing for the much-delayed project, which EDF has struggled to fund. ndustry observers believe the Chinese cash for Hinkley is conditional on allowing Chinese firms to build their own plant at Bradwell in Essex. That project would function as a showcase for Chinese technology.

“I understand what the Chinese want, which is to have a demonstration plant, to show they can build inexpensively, quickly and reliably,” said Theresa Fallon, senior associate at the European Institute of Asian Studies.

“But it’s at a time when energy is relatively inexpensive, and this plant is a bit untried technology. I understand there are rules, but there were rules in Hong Kong too when you had the problems in Daya Bay. You are not building a gazebo, it’s really dangerous, serious stuff.”

News of the problems at one of China’s first commercial nuclear power plants only reached neighbouring Hong Kong weeks after the mistake was discovered on 14 September 1987……

A leading Chinese scientist told the Guardian this year that China’s nuclear power expansion plans are “insane” because the country’s safety controls are notrigorous enough.

“China currently does not have enough experience to make sound judgments on whether there could be accidents,” said 88-year-old He Zuoxiu, who worked on China’s nuclear weapons programme. “The number of reactors and the amount of time they have been operating safely both matter.”……

October 23, 2015 Posted by | China, safety, UK | Leave a comment

China keen to market nuclear technology overseas


nuclear-marketing-crapEyeing future exports China aims to become world’s top nuclear power producer by 2030 TETSUYA ABE, Nikkei staff writer BEIJING, 10 October 15  — Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government is poised to greatly expand the country’s nuclear power generation, with plans to build six to eight new reactors a year over the next five years.

Under its 13th five-year national development plan, which starts in 2016, China will invest 500 billion yuan ($78.7 billion) to introduce domestically developed reactors. The new five-year plan is to be formally adopted at next spring’s annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament……….

According to the China Nuclear Energy Association, there are 25 nuclear reactors operating in the country and a further 26 under construction. Under its current five-year plan, China has frozen new nuclear projects, in principle, in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

In addition to unfreezing new projects, China will lift a ban on nuclear projects in inland areas and promote the introduction of domestically developed reactors under its next five-year plan. China hopes to make nuclear reactors a major infrastructure export in the future, along with high-speed trains.

October 12, 2015 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power building – UK’s worry of China’s poor health and safety record

flag-UKflag-Chinanuclearnews No 2 nuclear power Oct 15 ..…….. it is China’s poor health and safety record which is most worrying. With the power of the Chinese Government and the UK Government’s enthusiasm for Chinese money the concern is that the UK’s nuclear regulators will be sidestepped.

China’s health and safety standards have been thrust into the spotlight this year by a series of chemical explosions. An explosion at a chemical plant in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong shortly before midnight on 31st August 2015 was the second to occur at a chemical plant in Shandong province in a matter of days.

Although no casualties were reported, the blast happened about a fortnight after explosions in the port city of Tianjin, northern China, which killed over 145 people. In the wake of the Tianjin blast, the Communist Party has sacked the head of China’s safety regulator, who was previously the vice mayor of the city. Shortly after, 12 government officials and company executives were detained. (6)

13a47-corruptionAccording to Ben Chu, author of ‘Chinese Whispers: Why Everything You’ve Heard About China is Wrong, the disaster in Tianjin was the latest consequence of a system that places personal profit before public safety. He says in China today behind every industrial accident lies a reeking morass of corruption.

Chinese state media reported that the son of a former local police chief was secretly a joint owner of the Tianjin warehouse that went up in a devastating fireball last week, killing 145 people, injuring 674 and damaging some 17,000 homes. He used his official connections to obtain licences for the warehouse, even though it flagrantly breached regulations prohibiting the storage of hazardous chemicals (sodium cyanide in this case) near residential areas. (7)

Does this also apply to nuclear safety? In May leading Chinese scientist He Zuoxiu described China’s plans for a rapid expansion of nuclear power plants as “insane”. He said the country had not invested enough in safety controls after lifting the post-Fukushima disaster moratorium on new reactor construction. He particularly criticised plans to build rectors inland, because if there was an accident it could contaminate rivers that hundreds of millions of people rely on for water and taint groundwater supplies to vast swathes of important farmlands.
He also spoke of risks including “corruption, poor management abilities and decision-making capabilities. China currently does not have enough experience to make sound judgments on whether there could be accidents,” he said. Rather than encouraging debate to expose weaknesses, the government tries to stamp it out, and in a country where challenging officials is risky, there is no mechanism to encourage or protect whistleblowers.
The safety watchdog is not independent. (8) Jeffrey Hendrerson, Professor of International Development at Bristol University says the company which is planning to apply for a GDA of the Hualong One reactor – the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) used to be called the China Guangdong Nuclear Power company which was responsible for building and running China’s first nuclear station, Daya Bay, near Hong Kong. It was initially improperly built – with reinforcement rods missing from the concrete base under the reactor – and there have since been reports of minor leakages of radioactive materials (though this is difficult to check, given China’s lack of transparency). (9)
The Chinese Government has now ordered nuclear companies to undertake safety inspections into all the existing nuclear power generation facilities, following the Tianjin explosion. The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that the inspections are intended to make sure that  the manufacturing and utilization of nuclear equipment and technology, equipment used at uranium mines, and nuclear radiation are safe and under control. The safety checks on more than 50 nuclear power generating units, which are currently in operation or under construction in the country, are scheduled to be carried out by November. (10)……….

October 10, 2015 Posted by | China, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

Serious questions about China’s involvement in Britain’s new nuclear power projects

dragon-3flag-UKSerious issues for George Osborne on China’s role in the UK’s nuclear future  The Conversation,  Professor of International Development, University of Bristol October 5, 2015 George Osborne will address the Conservative party conference on Monday fresh from a sales trip to Beijing. His efforts to drive more trade between the two nations saw Chinese state-owned companies invited to participate in the development of nuclear generating plants in Britain. They will have the chance to work with French state-owned company, EDF at Hinkley Point, Somerset and will be the sole operators at Bradwell, Essex. The move has already attracted doubts but there are other vital issues that have yet to be aired. These can be crystallised into five clear questions that Osborne and his government must answer.

Safety concerns

Two Chinese companies are involved with Hinkley Point: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN). The latter was responsible, under its previous guise (China Guangdong Nuclear Power) for building and running China’s first nuclear station, Daya Bay, near Hong Kong. It was initially improperly built – with reinforcement rods missing from the concrete base under the reactor – and there have since been reports of minor leakages of radioactive materials (though this is difficult to check, given China’s lack of transparency).

The deeply corrupt environment in which many Chinese companies operate compounds the possibility of these companies being lax on safety measures and it’s simply not good enough to say that Britain has one of the tightest nuclear safety regimes in the world. Confronted with the power of the Chinese government and the British government’s enthusiasm for unceasing flows of Chinese investment, the risk must be that the regulatory agency will be sidestepped or unable to cope………

Who builds what and with which workers?

The public needs to know whether Chinese construction companies will be involved in building Hinkley Point and other power stations and, if so, whether they will seek to use workers from China. ……..

One of the companies involved at Hinkley Point – China National Nuclear – produces China’s nuclear weapons. This means that as well as the Communist Party, CNNC is almost certainly controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (as all Chinese military-related companies are). Given geopolitical uncertainty (with rising tensions between China, Japan and the US over China’s territorial claims in the East and South China Seas), allowing such a company anywhere near Britain – not to mention in an industry as strategic as power generation – verges on the insane. Has MI5 been consulted on this, and if it has, what was its advice?

At its heart, the question of Chinese state (and thus Communist Party) involvement in Britain’s power generation, is a matter of national security. In its desire to help financial services (the only economic sector it privileges) penetrate the Chinese market, the government’s nuclear quid pro quo means it is set to embark on a potentially very dangerous path. Had this deal been negotiated by Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, the media would have been wondering if he were in the pay of the Chinese government. But George Osborne? Surely not.

Osborne may address some of these concerns in Monday’s speech, but it seems unlikely. In any case, before any binding commitments are made, it’s vital that the government’s proposal be opened up to public debate and subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment


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