UK approves stalled Chinese-funded nuclear power plant deal

The British government has approved the construction of the country’s first new nuclear power plant in decades, which will be built with Chinese investment.

The government said in a statement Thursday that it had decided to proceed with the Hinkley Point plant in southwest England. The plant will be financed by a Chinese nuclear power provider and French energy group EDF

The approval comes just weeks after Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly stalled the deal after she took office in July, saying she wanted to review it.

The delay threw into doubt the “golden era” of ties proclaimed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Britain last year. China’s ambassador to Britain warned that it left relations between the two countries at a crossroads.

Some British politicians and diplomats are wary of the enthusiasm the previous government of Prime Minister David Cameron showed for boosting ties with Beijing.

Energy Secretary Greg Clark said Thursday that the Hinkley Point deal “will include a series of measures to enhance security” and ensure it cannot change hands without the government’s agreement.

The British government also said it would impose “significant new safeguards” on future foreign investment in nuclear power and other critical infrastructure, to “ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the government’s knowledge or consent.”

Unions and manufacturers welcomed the deal, which they said could create up to 25,000 jobs.

But Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said the plant was a white elephant that was approved because it “became too big to fail.”