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How growing conflict with China could impact UK nuclear power

Given the tension between the two countries, the UK is unlikely to give China access to its nuclear energy. But a trade dispute would affect us more than them

By Nick Butler  

The EDF Energy Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset. Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The idea that trade and politics are distinct has always been false. Commerce and state-to-state relationships are intertwined. Sanctions and breaks in commercial relationships are convenient tools—far easier for governments to use when disputes arise than military force, but often with unintended consequences far from the original points of conflict. The deterioration of relations between London and Beijing, for instance, now threatens to derail the development of nuclear power in the UK and force a rethink of Britain’s energy policy.

A decade ago, China was the new strategic ally of the British government under David Cameron and George…

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