UK and France sign nuclear energy agreement
Addis Ababa, February 17, 2012 (WIC) - The UK is to sign a deal with France to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy.
The government says it reiterates the UK's commitment to nuclear energy "as part of a diversified energy mix".
The coalition says the agreement will create a number of commercial deals in the nuclear energy field, worth more than £500m and creating 1,500 UK jobs.
Defence will also be on the agenda as PM David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy hold a summit in Paris.
An announcement about joint development of a future unmanned aircraft is also expected.
"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.
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 the tsunami in Japan which wrecked the nearby the 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.
Last June, ministers announced plans for the next generation of UK nuclear plants.
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.
And earlier this month the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the first nuclear reactors to be built in the country since 1978. (BBC)
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