US blacklists Chinese nuclear firm involved in UK Hinkley Point C project 

Posted: August 17, 2019 by oldbrew in Energy, government, Legal, News, Nuclear power
Tags: ,

Planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point

Another headache to add to the list for the UK’s struggling nuclear power ambitions, at a time when its coal-fired plants are closing fast.

China General Nuclear Power partnered with EDF to help fund a third of the £20bn cost of the nuclear power plant being built in Somerset, says Energy Live News.

A state-owned Chinese company which is funding part of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK has been placed on a US export blacklist.

The US Department of Commerce has placed China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) to its “entity list”, which effectively blocks US companies from selling products and services to the firm without written approval.

The entity list identifies organisations “for which there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests” of the US.

CGN partnered with EDF to help fund a third of the £20 billion cost of the Hinkley power plant being built in Somerset.

The Department of Commerce alleges the nuclear company and three of its subsidiaries “engaged in or enabled efforts to acquire advanced US nuclear technology and material for diversion to military uses in China”.

Full report here.
– – –
For some history of the problem we can turn to this US justice system press release:

U.S. Nuclear Engineer Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Violating the Atomic Energy Act
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Szuhsiung Ho, aka Allen Ho, 66, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Taiwan, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Ho was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. The defendant pleaded guilty in January 2017 to conspiracy to unlawfully engage or participate in the production or development of special nuclear material outside the U.S., without the required authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in violation of the Atomic Energy Act.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney Nancy Stallard Harr of the Eastern District of Tennessee and Special Agent in Charge Renae McDermott of the FBI’s Knoxville Field Division made the announcement.

“Today, Allen Ho is being held accountable for enlisting U.S.-based nuclear experts to provide assistance in developing and producing special nuclear material in China for a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company. He did so without the required authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente. “Prosecuting those who unlawfully facilitate the acquisition of sensitive nuclear technology by foreign nations continues to be a top priority of the National Security Division.”

“The U.S. Attorney’s office is committed to working to ensure that sensitive and controlled technology is not illegally obtained and exported from the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Harr. “Violations of our export control laws will be aggressively prosecuted in the Eastern District of Tennessee.”

“Theft of our nuclear technology by foreign adversaries is of paramount concern to the FBI. Along with our local, state and federal partners, we will aggressively investigate those who seek to steal our technology for the benefit of foreign governments,” said Special Agent in Charge McDermott.

An April 2016 indictment charged Ho; China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC), the largest nuclear power company in China and Energy Technology International (ETI), a Delaware corporation with these offenses. At the time of his indictment, Ho was a nuclear engineer, employed as a consultant by CGNPC and was also the owner of ETI. CGNPC specialized in the development and manufacture of nuclear reactors and was controlled by China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

According to documents filed in the case, beginning in 1997 and continuing through April 2016, Ho conspired with others to engage or participate in the development or production of special nuclear material in China, without specific authorization to do so from the U.S. Secretary of Energy, as required by law.

Continued here.

  1. Dave Ward says:

    “At a time when its coal-fired plants are closing fast”


  2. pochas94 says:

    According to the definition, Google may belong on the list.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Dave W — the UK gov. wants to be a leader of the ignorant CO2-fearing climate-obsessed world, whatever the consequences in cost, prices, reliability of supply and so on.

    They don’t care that most greenhouse gas is water vapour, and know nothing of lapse rates, solar variability, climate cycles etc. etc. It’s all about phoney ‘virtue signalling’ of course.

    Off-topic, but never mind…

  4. A Weighell says:

    And so they should. The Chinese are involved with Hinkley C for one reason only – exactly the same reason as for PFI, student debts and now the Turks et al buying up steel. The reason is Maastricht state borrowing rules, EU state aid and other Eurotrash regulations so beloved by successive UK governments. We need some other suckers to take the debt off the UK Government books. This is either hospitals, students or the Chinese. The debt is always there – keeping it off the books makes our EU bosses happy. Hopefully Boris will sort it out. If not, we will have to wait for the whole dung heap to collapse – maybe sooner rather than later given the state of the German economy.

  5. It doesn't add up... says:

    The problem is less with Hinkley C where the prime Chinese involvement is the sweetheart financing deal, but rather with the semi-promises to use Chinese technology in other planned reactors, especially since we managed to frighten away other credible suppliers such as the South Koreans.

  6. ivan says:

    I can’t help wondering if the US push against CGNPC and CGN is somehow involved with the Chinese investment in local molten salt reactors when the US thinks they invented them (the UK was also involved at Winfrith).

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