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Reports of rising Chinese influence at UK nuclear power station site rejected

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Project: Cranes tower over the Hinkley Point site

Project: Cranes tower over the Hinkley Point site

Project: Cranes tower over the Hinkley Point site

Energy company Electricité de France has denied reports that China General Nuclear Power's role at a UK nuclear site is increasing.

In a row that underlines growing tensions about China's involvement in critical infrastructure in the UK, the company has been accused of understating the number of Chinese personnel on site at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

It has also leaned heavily on CGN's expertise in planning and construction, the 'Sunday Telegraph' reported, citing company documents and unidentified sources.

The newspaper also claimed Chinese engineers proposed a way to lift a concrete dome on to the reactor that would have involved dangling the heavy structure above workers, before it was ruled out as too dangerous.

The allegations in the story are untrue, EDF said in a statement.

It added: "The role of CGN is not increasing at Hinkley Point C and at no stage did anyone on the project suggest lifting a structure over workers, nor has there been any disagreement over the approach to be taken to the dome lift."

The company said there are about 30 CGN employees working on the project, out of a total 6,000.

The UK government this month banned Huawei gear from 5G mobile networks, signalling rising concern about Chinese investments.

EDF owns about two-thirds of the Hinkley Point programme, while CGN holds the rest. (Bloomberg)

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