Sizewell Campaigners decry double-standards in UK China security matters

28 January: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to limit Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s access to UK markets on security grounds exposes glaring contradictions in UK government policy on China’s involvement in Britain’s nuclear power stations.

The decision to ban Huawei from operating at sensitive sites such as nuclear and military facilities [1] is understandable, but an astonishing contradiction given that China General Nuclear, which joined Huawei on the US government’s “entity list” in August 2019, [2] is a partner in EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear new build, in the development of proposals at Sizewell C in Suffolk, and wants to build it own “Hualong” reactor at Bradwell in Essex. Theresa May’s hesitation in allowing Hinkley Point to proceed in 2016 was reportedly linked to security concerns about China’s involvement. 

“If the UK government is serious about effectively managing the security risk presented by Chinese state-owned firms playing a critical role in Britain’s sensitive infrastructure, then it should ban China General Nuclear from Hinkley, Sizewell and Bradwell” said Alison Downes of Sizewell campaign group TEAGS.

2. See for example The U.S. Department of Commerce said that CGN and three of its subsidiaries allegedly “engaged in or enabled efforts to acquire advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material for diversion to military uses in China.” Huawei was placed on the same list in May 2019.