A Chinese-backed plan to build small nuclear reactors in Britain has been snubbed, in the latest sign of the chill in Anglo-Sino relations.
DBD, a Cheshire-based engineering firm, was working with China’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology to build a fleet of gas-cooled small reactors, and had hoped to win government funds. However, ministers have awarded £10m each to three rival projects — including an experimental plan for a fusion reactor. A version of the DBD reactor has already been built in China. DBD declined to comment.
The snub comes as Britain prepares to sever relations with the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Culture secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to say this week that all Huawei’s kit must be stripped out of the 5G network by 2025, with 4G and 3G products to follow.
Britain is also under increasing pressure from the US and Sinosceptic MPs not to let China invest in nuclear power plants in the UK.
China General Nuclear hopes to defuse the row over plans to install its Hualong One reactors at Bradwell in Essex by dropping plans to invest at the Sizewell project in Suffolk.
China’s ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, warned the UK last week not to interfere in its decision to impose a new security law in Hong Kong and said banning Huawei would damage trust. “You cannot have a golden era if you treat China as an enemy,” he said.