EDF poised to submit plans for an £18bn nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast

Posted: 27th May 2020

EDF submits £18bn nuclear plan. Energy giant EDF is poised to submit plans
for an £18bn nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast, stoking tensions
over China’s role in Britain’s critical infrastructure. EDF is expected
to submit a development consent order (DCO) to the planning inspectorate on
Wednesday — a crucial stage in building Sizewell C, which will supply 7%
of the country’s electricity. China General Nuclear (CGN) is funding 20%
of the Sizewell development, with the French state power company
shouldering the rest of the cost, although sources said CGN may opt not to
fund its construction.

Times 24th May 2020


The great China dilemma: Caught between two superpowers, Britain faces
difficult decisions on everything from nuclear power to medicine. On the
picturesque Suffolk coast, a battle is intensifying that will help define
Britain’s relationship with China. In one corner is a group of
celebrities and locals, including the Love Actually actor Bill Nighy, and
Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams brewery in Southwold. In the other are
two nuclear power giants, Electricité de France (EDF) and China General
Nuclear (CGN). China and France want to build Sizewell C, a nuclear power
station capable of supplying 7% of the UK’s electricity. The Stop
Sizewell C campaigners share one concern with some politicians, notably the
hard right of the Conservative Party: why is Britain relying on China to
supply its electricity? “China is adept at cyber-attacks,” said Alison
Downes of Stop Sizewell C. “I would doubt whether there could be a 100%
cast-iron guarantee that operating systems were immune to that. Even if you
set aside security concerns, you’ve got real vulnerabilities with a
government that is prepared to use economic sanctions.” Sizewell is just
a part of the communist state’s Belt and Road initiative to dominate the
world with cash, technology and influence. It plans to use the UK as a
showcase for its nuclear technology, with state-owned CGN providing 20% of
the funds for Sizewell. China is also helping bankroll the delayed and
over-budget Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset. However, the bigger
prize lies on the Essex coast at Bradwell. There, 40 miles east of London,
CGN wants to install its homegrown HPR1000 nuclear reactors. CGN will be
the two-thirds owner of the Bradwell plant, EDF the junior partner. EDF and
CGN claim that the power stations will be impervious to cyber attack. In
Britain, a new China-sceptic organisation, the China Research Group, has
been formed by Tory MPs led by Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign
affairs select committee. It is a far cry from the “golden era” in
Sino-British relations promised by David Cameron in 2015, when Chinese
president Xi Jinping visited the UK and the pair drank pints in a pub. At
CGN, concern is growing about the rising tide of Sinophobia and its
investment in the UK. As the Chinese embassy in London pumps out defensive
statements about China’s role in tackling Covid-19, Britain will have to
decide whether it wants nuclear power stations funded — and powered —
by China. CGN’s UK chief executive, Zheng Dongshan, is understood to have
pressed energy minister Nadhim Zahawi for clarity around the UK’s
intentions on new nuclear.

Times 24th May 2020


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