Patriotism, refuge, scoundrel

How’s this for a turn-up for the books? A Conservative Chancellor, promoter of free markets and defender of national sovereignty, is boasting of “allowing” (a euphemism, it seems, for “begging”) a totalitarian Communist country to build nuclear power stations in Britain.

It will all start – under a deal expected to be finalised next week – with the state-owned China General Nuclear Power joining the equally nationalised Electricité de France (EDF) in constructing a £14 billion brace of reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Chinese will have a minority share in the project, but have made it clear – and George Osborne accepts this – that they should have a controlling interest in future schemes.

So, much of Britain’s highly sensitive nuclear industry – which sprang from the atomic bomb programme – is effectively to be owned by two foreign powers, one the country’s oldest traditional enemy, the other a bitter Cold War opponent. Few other nations, and certainly not China, would dream of permitting anything of the kind. Doesn’t Mr Osborne see that this could be a bit radioactive, shall we say?

As Mr. Lean goes on to point out the Chinese are the only people currently building nuclear plants on time and to budget. What with this division and specialisation of labour stuff sounds like a good idea to trade with them really.

But no, better by far to deride them as greasy foreigners who shouldn’t be allowed to sully our green and pleasant land with their money and expertise. Pretty transparent really…

13 comments on “Patriotism, refuge, scoundrel

  1. So, much of Britain’s highly sensitive nuclear industry – which sprang from the atomic bomb programme

    Actually where Britain’s nuclear power industry went wrong is that it grew out of the needs of the British weapons programme. So the first reactors were low-temperature low-powered graphite moderated CO2 cooled reactors. A dead end. France went down that path too but they re-tooled to produce that other product of military requirements – the PWR (pressurised so that it would be small enough to fit into what were then rather small submarines).

    Few other nations, and certainly not China, would dream of permitting anything of the kind.

    The irony is that virtually all of China’s reactors are foreign built or at least designed. The French mainly. But also Westinghouse. The Canadians are building six CANDU reactors south of Shanghai. Even the Soviets, I mean the Russians, are building at least one.

  2. What SMFS said.

    I find it sad that we’ve lost expertise to (economically) do it (well) ourselves, but France has loads of experience, and China has some pretty good nuclear tech (pebble bed reactors, for one), so I’m not crying too hard.

  3. We don’t want none of that Frog or Chinee leccy. Give us good old fashioned British power made by our imported solar panels and wind turbines. If we all give up on having hot water in our homes and hand-crank our televisions we can make it work.

  4. China is teetering on the verge of a financial meltdown, at some point their share will be sold off at a bargain basement price, so actually it’s the best way to go.

    As regards France controlling our electricity … a bit late to point that out since the “electric channel tunnel” has been in operation since 1986.

  5. Don’t know anything about this Lean fellow but, since he is very prob a member of the ruling “elite”, it does sound rather like a traitor pointing out the prevalence of treason.

  6. He is also wrong to think China wouldn’t allow the building of such plants by foreigners in their country.

    European companies are currently building nuclear plants, designed by Europeans, at 1/3rd of the cost if such plants in Europe.
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/09/european-nuclear-reactors-are-three.html

    Proof that about 90% of electricity bills are socialist state parasitism. Fortunately for China they have a, comparatively, free enterprise society.

  7. Well, yes and no. A nuclear power plant isn’t like a bridge, or a factory or a port. If any of those are foreign owned, and for some reason that country became an active enemy of ours, we’d just nationalise it. Take it over. Even if the owners managed to destroy it beforehand we’ve got other ones, and can rebuild them. Bit harder to do with a nuclear plant, especially if the systems are unknown to you, and might well have trojan horses imposed in them to prevent anyone using the plant without the manufacturers say so, or even have some mad doomsday system to allow the owner to blackmail the country by threatening to let it melt down unless we do X or pay up Y. All very James Bond I know, but the point is if you let a foreign power (which up to very recently has been am enemy of this nation) install highly complex and potentially lethal nuclear technology in this country, you can never be sure that it will be 100% benign. China is the main source of all cyber warfare remember, for a ‘friendly’ nation, they seem very keen on attacking Western economies in cyberspace, if not in physical reality.

  8. Mr Ecks
    “Don’t know anything about this Lean fellow …”
    Not much to know. Telegraph employ him to cut & paste pressure group handouts & write a few lines of copy to bulk out to an article. Calls himself a journalist. Pathetic really.

  9. @Jim:

    This was an issue in another CNI industry, but a process was put in place to mitigate the risk. Time will tell whether this worked or not, but no doubt something similar will be put in place for nuclear.

  10. Well if the eco loonies don’t want us to have shale gas then they should have no problem with nuclear. If they don’t want us to have either then they are definitly loonies. “Renewablebles” can’t power the UK, even the chief scientist highlighted that in his recent submission to the cabinet.

  11. the point is if you let a foreign power (which up to very recently has been am enemy of this nation) install highly complex and potentially lethal nuclear technology in this country, you can never be sure that it will be 100% benign.

    Come on, it’s been well over a century since we last went to war with France.

  12. It seems to me we have left ourselves little option- if governments had been paying attention to the availability of cheap reliable energy supplies over the last twenty years, instead of focussing on the good opinion of the chattering classes, we would have effective British power stations now and no need to buy in help. As it is we need to scurry to keep the lights on- which is expensive in money and possibly in other ways.

  13. BoJo, GO and co kept me from having dinner at the MO on Thursday. Bastards. Still, we got to sit next to Mr and Mrs Helen Mirren a couple of days previously. Yes, I’m holiday gloating again.

    @Runcie, China will float their currency before any financial meltdown takes hold, this will make the current London/Frankfurt/Zurich beauty parade in Beijing a complete irrelevance. The world better be ready for it.

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