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Wylfa B and Oldbury: Chinese and French firms in new reactors bid

image captionThe Magnox reactors at Wylfa are coming to the end of their generating life

New nuclear power stations could be built on Anglesey and near Bristol by a joint French and Chinese group.

The Areva group and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) group are to bid for the Horizon project.

In one of the UK's biggest nuclear projects, Horizon Nuclear Power plans to build new plants at Wylfa on Anglesey and at Oldbury near Bristol.

The withdrawal of previous backers had left the projects in doubt and Horizon has since been put up for sale.

Areva chief executive Luc Oursel said the Horizon bid would take place with a £15bn investment.

"We will participate in the British government's plan to make this project a reality, and we will probably do it with Chinese power companies and other players," he said.

"Probably by the end of the year, the sellers will make public their choice for the team that will take over the project," Mr Oursel told Reuters.

The Horizon nuclear project is one of the UK's biggest nuclear projects and was put up for sale in March by German utilities RWE and E.ON.

RWE and E.ON came under pressure from Germany's decision to phase out all nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident in Japan.

The six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was badly damaged after the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems to reactors, leading to meltdowns and the release of radioactivity.

Last month the UK government reaffirmed its commitment to a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey during a ministerial visit to Wylfa.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry told the power station's staff the nuclear industry had a positive future on the island and within the UK.

Wylfa, which has been producing energy since 1971, will stop generating in 2014.

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