EU wants to close Hinkley nuclear case by year-end

LONDON Fri Feb 7, 2014 6:28am EST

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LONDON Feb 7 (Reuters) - The European Union aims to decide by the end of the year whether it has any objections to the construction of the first nuclear plant in Europe since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, known as Hinkley Point C, in Britain.

The EU's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said he needed Britain to clarify why state aid is need to build the 19 billion euro plant near Bristol, southwest England, in a deal with French state-controlled utility EDF.

"We need the UK authorities' cooperation. My intention is to be able to adopt a final decision on this before the end of the year," he told reporters in London.

If the EU raises no state aid objections to the project's 35-year power price guarantees and government-backed loans, it could also pave the way for more new nuclear plants in Europe.

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