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China, France team up to build nuclear power plant in the UK

A Franco-Chinese consortium has been picked to build the first new nuclear power station in a generation in the UK. According to England, it's a strategic move to help keep the lights on long term.

French energy giant EDF announced Monday it had clinched a deal worth 18.9 billion euros ($26 billion) to build a new nuclear power plant in Britain. It said the project would be carried out with Chinese backing, naming the firms CGNPC and CNNC as its Asian consortium partners.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the BBC the power project involving two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in southwestern England was critical to the nation's efforts "to keep the lights on and power British business."

The government in London said it believed the project would secure reliable low-carbon electricity and create many new jobs.

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"This deal means huge investment coming into the country and the creation of 25,000 jobs," Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement.

EDF was reported to have a 45 to 50 percent stake in the project, with the two Chinese partners to get between 30 and 40 percent. The remaining bit of the overall stake was still under discussion.

Last week, UK Finance Minister George Osborne said that Chinese companies would in the future be allowed to also take majority stakes in civil nuclear projects in Britain.

Though the UK deems nuclear power as indispensable for its energy policy, Germany is currently phasing it out completely, with Italy having scrapped all plans and France looking to decrease its dependence on atomic energy.

hg/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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