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UK bets on China for nuclear future

Monday, September 21, 2015 - 01:39

Britain and China have agreed a series of initiatives including Chinese investment in British nuclear power. As Ivor Bennett reports, Britain sees China helping build a new generation of nuclear reactors.

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They may not look like much now But these fields hold the key to securing Britain's energy future...at least according to the UK government. It's the proposed site for Hinkley Point C. Capable of supplying 7 percent of the country's power needs, it's set to become the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in decades. And it's all thanks to China. Speaking during a visit to Beijing, British finance minister George Osborne announced the UK will guarantee a two-billion-pound deal, that could see China invest a great deal more. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UK CHANCELLOR, GEORGE OSBORNE, SAYING: "We get the power station built, we save money for the British taxpayer and at the same time we deliver low carbon energy that meets our climate change commitments." The Hinkley project is run by French firm EDF But it was put on hold due to financial concerns. The estimated 16 billion pounds too much to shoulder alone. It's expected to get the go-ahead with Beijing now on board. A shrewd play by Osborne, says Henderson Global's Matthew Beesley, despite China's slowdown. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF GLOBAL EQUITIES, HENDERSON GLOBAL INVESTORS, MATTHEW BEESLEY, SAYING: "The UK broadening out its trading partner base, emphasising not just the opportunities outside the euro zone in places like India but also China, are going to be very important especially if the UK finds itself on the edges of Europe post a referendum vote in 2016." But that hasn't stopped criticism over the cost of the energy itself. Britain has guaranteed EDF a minimum price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for the next 35 years. Twice the current wholesale price of electricity.

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UK bets on China for nuclear future

Monday, September 21, 2015 - 01:39