Ministers to block China's nuclear power firm from all UK projects

Ministers move to block China’s state-owned nuclear power firm from all UK projects including £20billion Sizewell C plant

  • China’s state-owned nuclear energy company could be blocked from all future power projects in the UK
  • Ministers are understood to be investigating ways to prevent its involvement 
  • Would exclude China General Nuclear from the consortium planning to build the £20billion Sizewell C nuclear plant 

Ministers are exploring ways to block China’s state-owned nuclear energy company from all future power projects in the UK including the £20billion Sizewell C nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast. 

A Whitehall source confirmed a report by the Financial Times that first revealed that the Government is exploring ways of removing China General Nuclear from future projects including a nuclear plant in Essex.

The move would likely stoke further tensions between the UK and China and would also mark a toughening of Britain’s stance towards Beijing amid major concerns about Beijing’s clampdown in Hong Kong, the row over Covid-19 and the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

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. 

The move would exclude China General Nuclear (CGN) from the consortium planning to build the £20billion Sizewell C nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast, as well as one in Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex 

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.

‘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.’  

One person familiar with the matter told the Financial Times: ‘There isn’t a chance in hell that CGN builds Bradwell. Given the approach we’ve seen to Huawei, they [Downing Street] aren’t going to be letting a Chinese company build a new nuclear power station.’  

The Government was forced to reverse its decision to let Huawei build the 5G mobile phone network last year following mounting concern over the security risk of giving China too big a role in Britain’s infrastructure.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said last year that the UK could no longer conduct ‘business as usual’ with Beijing. 

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