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Campaigners seek early end to Chinese involvement at Bradwell nuclear project

https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/campaigners-seek-early-end-to-chinese-involvement-at-bradwell/ 7 Nov 22 Three campaign groups have written to influential parliamentarians asking them to seek an early end to plans by Chinese-state owned CGN to develop a new nuclear power plant at Bradwell in Essex.

In their letter to Conservative MPs, Alicia Kearns and Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities, the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), and the Bradwell B Action Network (BAN) have urged them ‘to make urgent representations to government to terminate CGN’s involvement at the Bradwell B site as soon as possible’.

Ms Kearns and Sir Iain are both prominent members of the China Research Group, whose stated position is that ‘Chinese involvement in our nuclear industry is now seen as an unacceptable national security risk’. The three campaign groups are opposed to any new nuclear projects at Bradwell as they believe the site does not meet any of the required national criteria to be suitable for the location of a power plant, however they have especial concerns about a Chinese-led project.

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n their letter, they state that ‘the construction of a nuclear power plant by a Chinese-state owned entity, using Chinese-designed reactors that are not yet operational anywhere in the world, at a location relatively close to large urban populations, military installations, and other strategic assets and infrastructure, must represent a potentially substantial safety and security risk to the UK’.

Recent pronouncements by the Bradwell project team have contained mixed messages. In a circular to residents, they stated that boreholes dug on site to take soil samples would be filled in; that the site compound would soon be dismantled; and that a second phase of testing would be delayed beyond 2023. However, in a response to the media after the NFLA described this as ‘beating a retreat’, CGN insisted they are going to proceed with further feasibility studies.

This optimism seems ill-judged given the many statements by government ministers that they are hostile to Chinese investment in major British infrastructure projects, including at Sizewell C and Bradwell B. The government has enacted the National Security and Investment Act to allows ministers to restrict or prevent foreign investment in infrastructure projects that could compromise national security. Given the political backdrop, the three campaign groups cannot see how the British government could give the CGN-led Bradwell B development its endorsement

Professor Andrew Blowers OBE, Chair of BANNG, said: ‘For the past fourteen years, we have opposed any nuclear development on the grounds that the site is not in any way ‘potentially suitable’ for a new nuclear power station. We believe the Chinese project will be withdrawn owing to sustained local opposition and security concerns. We are asking politicians to confirm that this is the case.’

Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA, added: ‘The Bradwell situation appears to be one in which life imitates art. The Bradwell B team are insisting, like the shopkeeper in the famous Monty Python parrot sketch, that their nuclear power project is ‘not dead, it’s merely resting’, whereas it is highly unlikely that it will ever go forward at a time when parliament believes the Chinese Government is not to be trusted. The NFLA believes it would be best if the government made plain that this is going nowhere to end the uncertainty for staff and the people in the communities surrounding the Bradwell B site.’

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November 7, 2022 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK

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