China's reactor developer CGN says British cooperation to continue despite US nuclear restrictions

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - State-run China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN), a leading developer of reactors in the country, said on Saturday (Oct 13) a proposed project in Britain was not imperilled by new US rules blocking it from acquiring American technology.

CGN and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) are jointly promoting an advanced third-generation reactor known as the Hualong One to overseas clients. CGN aims to deploy the technology at a proposed nuclear project at Bradwell in England.

On Thursday, amid growing trade tensions, the US Department of Energy said it was tightening controls on exports to China of civil nuclear technology to prevent use for military or other unauthorised purposes.

CGN said in a statement on Saturday the project in England did not use American technology.

"We will continue to push forward with the new nuclear power project in England with our partners," it said.

CGN came under scrutiny anew in the United States last year with a National Security Council-led review of China's efforts to obtain nuclear material, equipment and advanced technology from U.S. companies, US government officials told reporters on Thursday.

The review was prompted by China's accelerated efforts to acquire US intellectual property to the detriment of US businesses and military interests, they said.

The officials said the indictment in 2016 of a Chinese-American nuclear engineer, Allen Ho, was one of the factors that led to the review.

Ho, a naturalised US citizen, pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to produce "special nuclear material" in China in violation of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. CGN was also charged.

The United States and China signed an agreement on nuclear cooperation in late 2006 to build four Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and also transfer key technology to China.

After years of delays, the debut AP1000 was connected to the Chinese grid earlier this year.