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Could China be forced out of the UK’s national grid?

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Whether it’s the Belt and Road initiative leading to Laos losing control of its energy grid, or ByteDance being forced to sell TikTok out of fear of being banned for ‘national security reasons’, there’s no denying that scepticism around China is reaching fever pitch. 

In this week’s Gossage, Electrical Review explores this anti-China sentiment, and whether the UK is going to step up its crackdown on Chinese state firms and their involvement in national infrastructure products. 

The Conservative backwoodsmen MPs smell blood on China. They have already reversed Government policy and banned Huawei from involvement in rolling out the fifth generation (5G) of wireless communications networks. They now intend to stop another Chinese firm, CGN, from showcasing its HPR1000 technology when building a replacement nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex. The MPs will achieve this by amending the forthcoming National Security and Investment Bill. 

Trouble is, CGN already has contracts signed to part-fund nuclear power stations together with Electricité de France, at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. In both cases, the Chinese have absolutely key engineering roles, with know-how not easily replaced. 

The big question is: if CGN is chucked out of Bradwell, whether they would also walk away from the other two projects. Of course in doing so, they would then be in breach of many existing contractual obligations. But, in such circumstances, good luck with suing the Chinese government. 

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