Proposed site for Hinkley Point C with Point A and B visible in the background

GCHQ to monitor UK's nuclear Chinese computer systems

Chinese-built computer systems for upcoming UK nuclear power plants will be monitored by GCHQ to address national security fears, the body confirms.

China is expected to play a role in the construction of a number of plants including Hinkley Point C, which will be the first new nuclear energy facility built in the UK since 1987.

This comes as President Xi Jinping arrives for a four-day state visit where a number of business deals are set to be discussed. These include the Chinese taking a key role in constructing nuclear plants including Hinkley Point, Sizewell and Bradwell.

A GCHQ spokesman said: "GCHQ has a remit to support the cyber-security of private sector-owned critical national infrastructure projects, including in the civil nuclear sector and nuclear new builds, when invited to do so by the lead government department involved."

Meanwhile, a recent opinion poll shows that less than a third of people support plans to build Hinkley Point C.

The Greenpeace survey of 2,000 adults showed that while 29 per cent backed the planned construction of the Somerset-based facility, 34 per cent said they opposed it.

The survey also showed that one in five people believed the role of Chancellor George Osborne in driving negotiations with the Chinese had worsened their opinion of him as a potential Prime Minister, with only 8 per cent saying it would improve it.

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: "No wonder the Hinkley project enjoys little public support. Consumers are hearing from ministers that keeping bills down is their top priority. Yet George Osborne is about to plough billions into the bottomless pit of ever more expensive nuclear power whilst pulling the plug on clean energy sources that are getting cheaper every year.

"He's putting British clean tech firms out of business whilst lavishing billions on a foreign state-owned nuclear industry. None of this makes any economic, political, or business sense. There are no reasons left for going through with Hinkley but the Chancellor's own pride."

An announcement regarding Chinese involvement in the plants construction with energy firm EDF is expected in the coming days.

Chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said EDF was in final negotiations with China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN).

"We expect to put in place a partnership with CGN, which has been our partner in China for more than 30 years," he said.

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