A parliamentary report has raised concerns about China’s increasing influence in the UK’s civil nuclear sector, warning of the potential for China to gain control of the country’s nuclear power stations.
The report published by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament highlights security risks and commercial challenges associated with China’s investments.
The authors of the report said: “The government would be naïve to assume that allowing Chinese companies to exert influence over the UK’s civil nuclear and energy sectors is not ceding control to the Chinese Communist Party.”
It questions the government’s approach to Chinese involvement and calls for a comprehensive assessment of the potential impact.
The committee said: “It is therefore unacceptable for the government still to be considering Chinese involvement in the UK’s critical national infrastructure at a granular level, taking each case in isolation.
“It is alarming that the then Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy considered that foreign investment in the UK’s civil nuclear sector did not need to be looked at in the round.
“We question how any department can consider that a foreign country single-handedly running our nuclear power stations shouldn’t give pause for thought: this demonstrates that they do not have the expertise to be responsible for such sensitive security matters.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has acknowledged that China presents an “epoch-defining challenge” to the international order.
While recognising the need for further action, the Prime Minister highlighted that the majority of evidence gathered by the committee was from 2020.
He emphasised that the government has since bolstered its position through the implementation of additional laws.