U.S. offers support for U.K. new nuclear build

June 16, 2020, 9:26AMNuclear News

Citing reports that China has recently threatened to pull its support for new nuclear build in the United Kingdom, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 9 offered assistance from the United States and vehement criticism of Beijing.

Pompeo responds: "The United States stands with our allies and partners against the Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] coercive bullying tactics,” Pompeo said in a statement. “In the latest example, Beijing has reportedly threatened to punish British bank HSBC and to break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom unless London allows Huawei to build its 5G network. Shenzhen-based Huawei is an extension of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.”

Pompeo continued, “Beijing’s aggressive behavior shows why countries should avoid economic overreliance on China and should guard their critical infrastructure from CCP influence. Australia, Denmark, and other free nations have recently faced pressure from CCP interests to bow to China’s political wishes. The United States stands ready to assist our friends in the U.K. with any needs they have, from building secure and reliable nuclear power plants to developing trusted 5G solutions that protect their citizens’ privacy. Free nations deal in true friendship and desire mutual prosperity, not political and corporate kowtows.”

Why it matters: The China General Nuclear Power Group has partnered with EDF Energy on U.K. nuclear construction projects at the Hinkley Point and Sizewell sites. Newswire readers may recall that workers at Hinkley Point C recently completed the 49,000-ton base for the station’s second reactor, Unit C2, while EDF Energy in late May submitted a development consent order application to the U.K. government’s Planning Inspectorate to build the Sizewell C power station.

CGN and EDF Energy are proposing to build a reactor at the Bradwell nuclear site in Essex. Although the project is still in its infancy, the United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation in February completed step three in a four-step generic design assessment review of the proposed Bradwell B reactor technology—the United Kingdom’s version of China’s Hualong One design.

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