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EDF signs 18.9 bn euro deal to build UK nuclear plant

EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station, Bridgwater, south west England
EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station, Bridgwater, south west England Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

French energy giant EDF has clinched a deal worth 18.9 billion euros to build Britain's first new nuclear plant for a generation, with Chinese backing. 

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EDF has agreed to construct two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C, in south western England, alongside French nuclear group Areva and Chinese nuclear firms CGNPC and CNNC.

A statement from the French presidency hailed a “historic investment” which illustrated the “vitality of Franco-British bilateral co operation” and would help boost employment in both countries.

The choice of EDF for the project demonstrated that the company met the highest safety standards, the statement from the Elysées added.

"This project will deliver a boost to the economy and create job opportunities on both sides of the Channel," said EDF group chairman and chief executive Henri Proglio.

In reaction to the deal, the price of shares in Areva jumped by slightly more than 4.0 percent in initial trading in Paris.

The project is aimed at providing Britain with secure and reliable low-carbon electricity.

Areva will construct the two EPRs or European Pressurized Reactors, taking a 10-percent stake in the project.

EDF Group will have a 45-50 percent stake, while China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) will together take a 30-40 per cent stake.

The agreed price for the electricity provided is £92.50 per megawatt hour, which is about double the prevailing rate in Britain.

However, the price could fall to £89.50 per megawatt hour, if EDF's plans for two nuclear reactors in Sizewell, on the eastern English coast in Suffolk, get the green light.

 

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