Published on: Amended:
Le gouvernement britannique cherche des moyens d'éliminer la participation de la société d'énergie nucléaire d'État chinoise de tous les futurs projets énergétiques au Royaume-Uni, selon le Financial Times. </p><div> <p>Le changement de position de la Grande-Bretagne pourrait affecter le projet d'énergie nucléaire Sizewell C dans le Suffolk, en Angleterre, que le français EDF doit construire avec le soutien de CGN. Cela pourrait également avoir un impact sur les propositions de nouvelle usine à Bradwell-on-Sea dans l'Essex.
” Mood changing “
The newspaper, citing “people close to the talks,” said the “change in mood” at the top of the government is affecting China General Nuclear (CGN) proposals to build a new plant at Bradwell-on-Sea in the United States. Essex using its own reactor. technology, raising questions about the future of the UK’s nuclear power program.
The lack of appetite for Chinese cooperation in the field of nuclear energy follows a gradual cooling of relations between London and Beijing where London (in line with Washington and the EU) is increasingly worried China’s tightening of political freedoms in Hong Kong, its crackdown on Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, its lack of transparency in handling the initial Covid-19 epidemic in Wuhan and its growing military assertion in the South China Sea .
In April last year, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK could no longer do “as usual” with China.
The writing on the wall came when Downing Street decided to ban Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei from getting involved in the UK’s 5G network, and the ouster of Chinese television station CGTN from dissemination platforms.
The nuclear energy collaboration dates back to a 2015 deal that was endorsed by David Cameron, then British Prime Minister, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and was China’s first major investment in a Western nuclear facility.
Under the agreement, CGN would become a 20 percent partner in the development of the planned Sizewell C plant in Suffolk.
It also initiated Chinese investments in the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, which is currently under construction.
UK government is exploring ways to pull China’s state-owned nuclear power company out of all future UK power projects, including the consortium to build the new £ 20bn Sizewell nuclear power plant in Suffolk, via @FT.
– China Research Group (@ChinaResearchGp) July 25, 2021
</span> </figcaption> </div> <p>Selon le Financial Times, CGN est également devenu le principal développeur du projet de centrale Bradwell B dans l'Essex, où la technologie du réacteur Hualong HPR1000 de fabrication chinoise devait être installée.
The UK can now follow the US, which already put CGN on an export blacklist in 2019, accusing it of illegally obtaining US technology and using it for military purposes.
China as a trading partner?
In reaction, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that “the British should seriously provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies”.
“China and Britain are important trading and investment partners for each other,” he added.
“It is in the interests of both sides to conduct practical cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit and a win-win outcome. Zhao said.
Implications for the French
The FT said discussions are underway with the main developer of Sizewell C, the French state-backed electricity company EDF, to see if it could find new partners for the project. CGN and EDF declined to comment.
Meanwhile, the French have their own issues with certain aspects of China’s nuclear power.
In June, French nuclear company Framatome, owned by EDF, said it was working to resolve a “performance problem” at an EPR plant it co-owns in southern China following the announcement by the American media CNN of a potential radioactive leak in this country.
CNN earlier reported that the US government was evaluating a report of a leak at the Taishan nuclear power plant after French company Framatome warned of an “imminent radiological threat.” Framatome holds 30% of the plant’s capital.
Framatome said in a statement to French news agency AFP that it “supports the resolution of a performance issue” at the plant. But on July 22, EDF said it would have shut down a nuclear reactor if it had encountered problems similar to those reported at Taishan’s next-generation power plant in China.
(With press agencies)
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