White House official urges Britain not to hand China control of its electricity as Beijing-run nuclear energy company jostles for dominance. A senior US official has delivered a stark warning to Britain not to continue to let a Chinese state-run nuclear energy company control a large part of our electricity supply. Dr Christopher Ford, the US State Department’s assistant secretary for non-proliferation and international security, warned that China General Nuclear (CGN) is closely linked to the Communist regime’s military. Any involvement in UK power generation would jeopardise our political independence for many decades, he said. One of the company’s top engineers has previously been convicted and jailed in the US for running a spy network at the behest of Beijing. Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, Dr Ford said: ‘We are trying to discourage our friends and partners from engaging with a Chinese nuclear company that is known for such acts.’ It is highly unusual for a serving US official to intervene so forcefully about an ally’s policy decisions but it shows how seriously the Trump administration views the Chinese threat. Dr Ford’s fears are echoed by many senior figures in Britain, including Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6. He told The Mail on Sunday that if CGN was allowed a key role in building two vast nuclear power plants – at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex – there would be a grave threat to national security. An analysis by this newspaper shows that the Chinese could have total or partial control over more than a quarter of Britain’s electricity needs. Dr Ford said this could result in ‘manipulation or coercion’, explaining: ‘China has not been shy about using economic levers as a political tool. Economic entanglements are being used for political purposes with greater frequency.’ He added that if Britain became dependent on CGN, China ‘could threaten to turn the switches on and off – and that can be a very powerful tool of influence.’ In Suffolk, the firm is in partnership with the French state-run company EDF, which is about to submit its final ‘consent order’ for permission to build a similar power station to Hinkley – even though an unfinished prototype in northern France is eight years behind schedule and three times over budget. CGN’s share of the final project has yet to be determined but it has already agreed to take an 80 per cent stake in Bradwell, where it wants to build two of its own Hualong 1 reactors. Industry experts say that although Hinkley, Sizewell and Bradwell could supply at least a fifth of the total power generated in Britain, it is not proved that they are really needed.
Daily Mail 16th May 2020 read more »