Britain, EDF 'strike deal on nuclear project': source

Oct 17, 2013
Chancellor George Osborne (left) talks with Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture general manager Guo Liming at a nuclear power plant in Taishan, Guangdong province, on October 17, 2013

The British government and French energy giant EDF have agreed on a deal to build two latest generation nuclear reactors in Britain, an informed French source said on Thursday.

Chinese nuclear firms CGNPC and CNNC will also be involved, the source said.

A formal agreement could follow on Monday, the source said.

French energy firm Areva will provide the two EPRs or European Pressurized Reactors, the source said, adding that Areva would hold 10 percent take in the project.

The agreed guaranteed price for the electricity provided was 92.5 pounds (109 euros, $148) per megawatt hour.

According to the source, this is nearly twice the prevailing rate in Britain.

British Energy Minister Ed Davey said over the weekend that London was "extremely close" to sealing a deal with EDF for the first new station to be built in the country since 1995.

Negotiations between London and EDF have been dragging for months over the financial terms to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

They have focused on trying to fix a minimum price for the power supplied as part of a new British policy to reward the production of energy with low carbon emissions.

French gendarmes stand above a Greenpeace campaigner (red) as they try to dislodge him at the Tricastin Areva's nuclear power plant in the French southeastern town of Pierrelatte, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Marseille, southern France, after around two dozen activists of the environmental anti-nuclear group snuck into the site on July 15, 2013. Twelve of the activists were arrested more than two hours later, according to the EDF energy giant that runs the country's atomic power plants. Greenpeace members have staged several break-ins at French nuclear plants in recent years in an effort to highlight what they say are dangers of atomic power and to expose security problems at the power stations. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES

Britain claims to be the world's oldest civil nuclear power, citing the opening of the first commercial nuclear power facility at Calder Hall in 1956.

A helicopter flies over Areva's Tricastin nuclear power plant in Pierrelatte, north of Marseille, on July 15, 2013

Britain's ministry, EDF and Areva all declined comment when contacted by AFP.

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