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Britain’s Conservatives anxious to review UK’s nuclear build co-operation with China

Tory hawks press button on nuclear power battle with China, After Huawei, energy sector looks set to be next flashpoint in Sino-British relations,,  Jim PickardDaniel Thomas and Nathalie Thomas-20 July 20

After securing a de facto ban on Huawei from winning future business in the UK, hawkish Conservative MPs have turned their sights on other Chinese investments — with the nuclear industry set to become the next flashpoint.
Over the past decade of a so-called “golden era” of Sino-British relations, initiated by former Tory chancellor George Osborne, Chinese companies snapped up an estimated $80bn of UK assets.

 They range from the manufacturer of the famous London black cabs to a wind farm in Norfolk, various property deals and stakes in various football clubs, including Southampton.
 The buying spree saw a range of household names change hands such as the 2014 takeover of PizzaExpress by private equity group Hony Capital; Thomas Cook, the travel operator that collapsed last year; and breakfast cereal maker Weetabix, since sold to US investors.  ……..
The energy sector looks set to become the next battleground in Sino-British relations. Although there has been a frenzy of activity by Chinese companies across wind and solar farms, the China critics have their sights set on the highly sensitive nuclear power sector with the focus on state-owned China General Nuclear.

CGN, which has already invested £3.8bn in the UK nuclear sector, is a junior funding partner for the new Hinkley Point power station in Somerset being built by France’s EDF, and is also involved with the French company’s other proposed plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.

 But it is CGN’s third nuclear power project — a new station at Bradwell in Essex where it is the majority partner — that the Tory backbenchers want blocked. The Chinese company wants to use its own reactor technology and is hoping to receive design approval from the UK regulator in the next 18 months.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith is one of the leading voices pushing for the government to review the group’s involvement in the UK. CGN has been blacklisted by the Trump administration in Washington over allegations of stealing US technology for potential military use.

July 21, 2020 - Posted by | China, politics international, UK

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