UK and France sign nuclear energy agreement


Nicolas Sarkozy described David Cameron as "a brave man"

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The UK has signed a deal with France to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy.

The government said it reiterated the UK's commitment to nuclear energy "as part of a diversified energy mix".

The coalition said the agreement would create a number of commercial deals in the nuclear energy field, worth more than £500m and creating 1,500 UK jobs.

The deal was signed at a summit between PM David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

'Joint framework'

"This joint declaration will signal our shared commitment to the future of civil nuclear power, setting out a shared long term vision of safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy, that supports growth and helps to deliver our emission reductions targets," a statement from Downing Street said.


Personal relations between Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron have not been warm of late.

There have been tetchy remarks flying in both directions, the French irritated by the British veto on the European fiscal treaty, the British annoyed by what seem to be sometimes rather gratuitous criticisms of the UK economy coming out of Paris.

Summits like this oblige a different tone and so the emphasis will be on the long-term and deeper shared interests between the countries, especially in the civil nuclear and military fields.

For Mr Sarkozy, this could be one his last encounters as president with David Cameron. In the polls he's way behind the socialist challenger Francois Hollande, who incidentally will himself be visiting London at the end of this month.

The two governments will work together with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "to strengthen international capability to react to nuclear emergencies and establish a joint framework for cooperation and exchanging good practice on civil nuclear security".

The move comes 11 months after a tsunami in Japan wrecked the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, leaking radioactive material into the air and sea.

UK and French public and private sector bodies in the civil nuclear power industry will also work more closely in a number of areas.

These include education and training, research and development, and security.

"As two great civil nuclear nations, we will combine our expertise to strengthen industrial partnership, improve nuclear safety and create jobs at home," said Mr Cameron.

Eight sites

Last June, ministers announced plans for the next generation of UK nuclear plants.

Sellafield Nuclear Plant There are plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Sellafield in Cumbria

The government confirmed a list of eight sites it deems suitable for new power stations by 2025, all of which are adjacent to existing nuclear sites.

The sites are: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey.

Rolls-Royce is expected to win a £400m ($632m) share in the building of the first of the planned power plants.

France's Areva will supply the core of the nuclear reactors and Rolls-Royce will supply other engineering work.

"Rolls-Royce will become our prime manufacturing partner to supply some £100m of key critical components of the reactor for each EPR [next generation nuclear power plant] that's constructed in the UK," said Robert Davies from Areva UK.

Rolls-Royce plans to build a factory in Rotherham to meet orders resulting from the deal.

Earlier this month, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the first nuclear reactors to be built in the country since 1978.

Map of nuclear sites

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  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Its Iran and most other Middle-East nations who urge genocide against Israel and deny the holocaust. These nations are not democracies, persecute gay people, women, journalists. Its basically a form of fascism.

    Elections might be a good idea if nations are developing nuclear weapons? Separation of church and state? A bunch of religious fanatics with a finger on the button, no thanks!

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    Once again this shows the hipocracy of the British Government and its allies. Spending billions on nuclear energy but putting sanctions against Iran for doing exactly the same. I hope the outcome of the European sanctions against Iran comes out in their favour!

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    218 Dr Bob Matthews
    Whilst I deplore continued Israeli occupation of Palestine the majority of wars fought by Israel have been in self defence against Iranian backed terrorists and Arab nations. Iran was in a war of self defence against Iraq for 8 years. The Iranian leader has stated he would like to remove Israel from the face of the earth, and then he gets nukes What type of demands can he make

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    156. lalaw - "Angela Merkel (trained physicist) has said Germany are going in the opposite direction and phasing out nuclear power.."

    That is to appease the hysterical greenies who demanded their shutdown after Fukushima. Typical of vocal minorities, they have many complaints, but no solutions. Also Germany now buys a large amount of nuclear power from France and Czech Rep. to meet energy needs..

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    Nuclear Power generation can be dangerous. But the crucial word in that sentence is CAN. Implying that it can also be perfectly safe for the vast majority of the time. The chances of a nuclear disaster is so small, it's far more likely for you to be killed in an aviation disaster than caught up in a one, yet hundreds of thousands of people fly every day with no worries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Nuclear power is sensible and the only realistic way to meet our energy needs.

    Just ask Iran ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.


    Just because you were looking at Wikipedia, doesn't mean everyone else is. Try studies by the Royal College of Engineering, World Nuclear Organisation, World Energy Council.

    They all say the same thing - nuclear is cleaner, long-term-cheaper, and improving far faster than any other energy source despite lack of attention paid to it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I believe nuclear power is the way forward but stop saying those that don't are short sighted - they are considering the years in the future when our grandchildren will have tones of nuclear material to deal with (safely for all life not just people) as well as decommissioning power plants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    To all those bleating on about nuclear safety: If you look at the numbers the safety record is excellent compared to all options which will meet out energy demands.

    Safety in nuclear is like that in air travel. Compared to cars there are far fewer deaths from air, but one incident has a large impact.

    We should be investing more in nuclear, less in subsidising pathetic wind power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    My concern is that nuclear power results in long term (thousands of years!) costs of storage and decommissioning, but private companies have no interest once the ability to make money is finished. Yes we need an alternative to oil, but we need to invest in R&D into renewables (not subsidies for inefficient ones) to make them viable - wind and wave power on this island!

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Rich in mountain streams, tides, sea-winds, geothermal potential, not to speak of solar micro-generation and biomass… 'our' non-democratic 'government' caves in to Euro-Nuclear 'business'

    Still with no solution to waste, signing more blank cheques for 'the nuclear industry' (meaning short-term money speculators)

    More reactors: "So safe, they build them in expendable parts"

    Bristol Channel etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    Let us hope that the French and British governments apply some commonsense and include R&D on LFTR - clean, safe, abundant Thorium-powered reactors in their programme. The French are already looking into this, as are the Chinese. The Americans, who developed the technology in the 1960s, are not as yet and risk losing out, as do we. Visit and watch Thorium Remix 2011.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Had this debate with some friends a while back.I was asked,'would I live next to or near a nuclear power plant?'I said yes,1.our nuclear plants are safe,2.the vast majority of plants are by the seaside.Who wouldn't want to live by the sea?Social housing can move me tomorrow if they want. :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Nuclear power = subsidies for nuclear arms. Its time we moved on from this and looked into new energy technologies. Its sad that LENR (low energy nuclear reaction) technologies have received almost no coverage by the BBC. Many credible scientists are now independently seeing evidence of huge energy gains in nickel hydrogen LENR . MIT has recently held a symposium on this revolutionary technology.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    229. Steve9112

    Its not just James Bond that has made us scared of nuclear power.

    Ever heard of Chernobyl, Fukushima?


    We could close down all the nuclear power stations in the UK and not build any more but as our closest neighbour France has them dotted all over their coast line do you seriously think we will be protected by the North Sea and the English Channel?

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    227. JasonEssex
    ''And do you think the west or Israel would ever use Nuclear Weapons against Iran?''

    I think that's statistically more probable than the other way around. Israel is killing civilians day after day in Palestine, then building settlements on their graves. The US is the only nation to have ever dropped a nuke (or two). Iran is concerned with defence. Is the US and GB?

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    The Utopian view is of all new houses being built with geothermal heating/cooling, solar panelling for lighting and evacuated tubing to heat water. Extra requirements will be covered by extremely cheap energy from nuclear fusion.
    Of course, that's never going to happen because the private utilities companies need to make a profit to survive. Otherwise we'd be there already.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Fantasy: Wind Turbines are cost effective or even worthy of consideration on a commercial scale.

    Fact: Nuclear power is the only way to power the nation.

    I wish we had more Hyro electric power - but we don't have enough mountains.

    I do wonder why we can't make more use of Solar Power, by developing cheaper panels, or why Thermal steam power from the earth's core is beyond us. Cost I guess

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    A couple of years back I attended a joint presentation by Areva and Westinghouse on their respective "inherently safe" designs of new nulclear plant. I thought the Westinghouse design was much better, but I guess it's a matter of never mind the quality, feel the politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    The Nuclear Energy Industry was held up initially not because of the danger but by extensive lobbying from the coal mining industry assisted by their friends the Labour Party, which put jobs ahead of economic and environmental issues. I wonder how many Brits know how much of our electricity is bought from France generated by nuclear power ? Arthur Scargill and his cronies were behind the lobbying


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