February 16, 2017
British Submarine Nuclear Reactor Firm’s Nuclear Links With China
Drawing from a World Nuclear News report of February 14, 2017: Having recorded a loss of $5.7 billion in 2016 Rolls-Royce saw itself as fortunate that it is expanding its nuclear reactor ventures with China. Rolls-Royce’s nuclear business made a difficult 2016 more manageable through growth of its nuclear business of 11% year on year to around $970 million ("£777 million"). "There are "encouraging opportunities" in the UK and China in particular, alongside its nuclear submarine activities, the company said on the release of its 2016 financial results."
"[Rolls-Royce] has also announced closer strategic collaboration with China National Nuclear Corporation [CNNC], including engineering and training services. "The Chinese market is expected to sustain strong growth and we are well-positioned with relevant technology," it said."
On August 8, 2016 the UK Guardian newspaper reported that Nick Timothy, co-chief of staff, to the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May “has previously expressed alarm at the prospect of CNNC having such close access to the UK’s energy infrastructure because it would give the state-owned firm the potential ability to build weaknesses into computer systems.
[CNNC] was formerly China’s Ministry of Nuclear Industry and developed the country’s atomic bomb and nuclear submarines...Timothy singled out CNNC’s military links as a reason the UK government should be wary of such involvement.”
"The Rolls-Royce pressurised water reactor (PWR) series has powered British nuclear submarines since the Valiant class, commissioned in 1966. The first British nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, was powered by a Westinghouse S5W reactor.
... Three propulsion options were considered for the successor to the UK Trident system – [the Rolls-Royce] PWR2, PWR2b (a PWR2 derivative with improved performance), and PWR3. [the Rolls-Royce] PWR3 is a new system based on a US design but using UK reactor technology. Both PWR2b and PWR2 would cost roughly the same but PWR3 is a simpler and safer design with a longer life and lower maintenance requirements than the PWR2 variants."
Was Nick Timothy’s "alarm" well based, baseless, or now silent? After all businessmen are taught to place security higher than financial bottom lines.
Posted by Peter Coates