Daily Management Review

UK-China Nuclear Deal Likely to Boost China’s Status as a Nuclear Technology Exporter


UK-China Nuclear Deal Likely to Boost China’s Status as a Nuclear Technology Exporter
In what is being seen as one of the massive breakthrough for China in promoting global exports of its nuclear technology, China is lasted to have a controlling stake at Bradwell in Essex.
Analysts say that Chinese authorities are more elated about this deal the investment in Hinkley Pointor Sizewell B.

With the developed world opting for American, Japanese and French nuclear technology, Chinese export of its nuclear technologies have been confined to countries like Pakistan, Romania and Argentina only.
Stating that having Chinese design up and running in the UK would give other countries confidence on safety, UK Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said that China will be part of building the next generation of UK nuclear power stations.

Analysts have been stressing on safety as a key question of the deal.

In the wake of the Tianjin chemical warehouse disaster last month that killed more than 160 people there were questions raised about the levels of safety for Chinese nuclear plants even as the Chinese authorities launched a nationwide safety inspection into all its existing nuclear facilities.

Its entire nuclear construction programme was suspended in 2011 following Japan's Fukushima disaster even though none of its existing reactors has experienced any serious accidents. New approvals started again this year.

With 24 operational nuclear power plants and 25 more in the construction phase, China is the world's biggest builder of nuclear power plants. Critics of the Chinese nuclear program claim that without adequate supply of experienced engineers and operators, the Chinese nuclear industry is expanding too fast given its brief history in China.

Critics claim that the Chinese nuclear exporters value profits more than safety regimes and there is no protection to whistle blowers in China.

To reduce air pollution and cut dependence on imported oil and gas the Chinese government has been stressing on and fast developing and expanding its nuclear program back home in China. However Beijing is also keen to leverage this technology for commercial advantage abroad much like the other high-value infrastructures like the high speed rail.

A contract to build a Chinese-designed plant in Essex would be a huge endorsement for China, given the UK's long track record on nuclear power and its internationally recognized safety standards. Market expetts are of the opinion that this contract with the UK would raise eyebrows in other European capitals and in Washington where the Obama administration would certainly not invite Chinese involvement in a strategic project with sensitive security implications.

The deal is to be signed in London in October during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain even as the chancellor has said there is to be "deepening collaboration in nuclear sectors in the UK and China".


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