Government could block Chinese investment in Sizewell C and Bradwell
- Credit: Archant
Plans to build a new nuclear power station in Suffolk could receive a blow if reported government moves to block China's state owned nuclear energy company from getting involved in UK projects goes ahead.
Ministers are understood to be investigating ways to prevent the involvement of China General Nuclear (CGN) and would exclude it from the consortium planning to build the £20billion Sizewell C nuclear plant, as well as one in Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.
A Whitehall source confirmed a report by the Financial Times that first revealed that the Government is exploring ways of removing CGN from future projects.
China’s involvement in nuclear power in the UK dates back to an agreement endorsed by then prime minister David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2015.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Nuclear power has an important role to play in the UK’s low-carbon energy future, as we work towards our world-leading target to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050.
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“All nuclear projects in the UK are conducted under robust and independent regulation to meet the UK’s rigorous legal, regulatory and national security requirements, ensuring our interests are protected.”
A spokesman for EDF declined to comment.
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Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said "It’s welcome news that the government is looking to ditch China General Nuclear but it throws EDF’s funding problems into even sharper relief.
"The simple fact is that Sizewell C won’t go ahead without new investors."
Andy Blowers, chair of BANNG (the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group), said: "The news that the Chinese company developing the site may be under pressure to withdraw comes as little surprise and has looked on the cards for some while especially since CGN, the majority shareholder, announced a pause in the development in February.
"We believe the Bradwell site is unsuitable, unsustainable and unacceptable - whoever proposes to develop it. We must remain vigilant and continue to oppose any further nuclear development at this site."
Gary Smith, GMB general secretary, said: “This move represents a staggering u-turn from the Conservatives.
“Just a few years ago, they were ready to hand over whole nuclear projects in the UK to China - lock stock and barrel.
"We now have a huge opportunity to regain the UK’s position as the world leader in new nuclear - which is vital if we are going to hit our net zero targets.
“But to make it happen the Government needs to stop talking and start investing in our own manufacturing supply chain.”