Tom Burke warns the UK’s new nuclear programme may go up in flames if China’s ‘overwhelmed’ nuclear regulators fail to prevent an accident. The prospect of the Chinese becoming owners, managers and even constructors of nuclear power stations in Britain has caused anxiety in some unexpected places. Both the right and the left, united in their determination to press ahead with more nuclear, have raised objections. Carefully wrapped in a blanket of security rhetoric, their argument boils down to an Augustinian ‘Bring me nuclear, but not by them’. Meanwhile, a truly substantial reason why we should worry about Chinese involvement in the nuclear industry is yet to be noticed by anyone but the French Nuclear Safety Authority. They have just complained publicly about the lack of communication with their Chinese counterparts. Explaining this to the French Parliament they pointed out that ‘one of the difficulties in our relations is that the Chinese safety authorities lack means. They are overwhelmed’. This led one of the French regulators to worry that ‘It’s not always easy to know what is happening at the Taishan site’, where Areva are constructing a reactor of the same type as they want to build in Britain. Another French inspector reported seeing big machinery such as steam generators and pumps not being maintained at ‘an adequate level’. If the already stretched Chinese nuclear regulators prove unable to prevent a nuclear accident in China it will have direct repercussions here. This compounds the gamble that the British government is taking with Hinkley. Not only are we selling 35 years of index linked tax receipts to the French government in return for electricity at twice the price we are currently paying for it but we are also placing the security of our future electricity supply into the hands of China’s ‘overwhelmed’ nuclear regulators.