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EDF wins case to prevent final investment decision annulment

China General Nuclear, a backer of Hinkley Point C, is facing nuclear espionage charges in the United States.

The state-backed nuclear firm is alleged to have stolen US nuclear industry secrets following an FBI investigation.

Assistant US attorney general for national security John Carlin said in April: “Allen Ho, at the direction of a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company, allegedly approached and enlisted US-based nuclear experts to provide integral assistance in developing and producing special nuclear material in China.

“Ho did so without registering with the Department of Justice as an agent of a foreign nation or authorisation from the US Department of Energy. Prosecuting those who seek to evade US law by attaining sensitive nuclear technology for foreign nations is a top priority for the National Security Division.”

According to the indictment, Mr Ho is a nuclear engineer employed by CGNPC as a senior adviser.

The revelations could add to alleged government security fears around China’s involvement in the Hinkley project.

Prime minister Theresa May’s chief of staff Nick Timothy has previously condemned Chinese involvement in the UK nuclear sector.

Writing on ConservativeHome last October, Mr Timothy talked about Chinese intelligence working against the UK’s interest and fears that China could use its nuclear role to build weaknesses into computer systems that would allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production at will.

Meanwhile, EDF has won a ruling to avoid the temporary suspension of a final investment decision on its £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

Bloomberg reported that EDF’s works council had failed in its bid to suspend the final investment decision made last month.

In July the works council launched a complaint with a Paris Court demanding that the investment decision on the Somerset plant was annulled.

The complaint came in the week that EDF’s board voted in favour of making a final investment decision on the plant.

That decision was quickly followed by the government’s shock announcement that it would delay giving the project the green light until a review of the project had been carried out.

The hearing happened on 2 August, with Bloomberg reporting last week that the Paris judge had dismissed the works council’s demands.

It was the second legal challenge brought against EDF by its works council.

The council launched legal action in July to try to force the state-controlled EDF to release documents relating to the projects, including contracts signed with the UK government and stakeholder China General Nuclear.

This hearing is set to take place on the 22 September.

 

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