Energy alliance with France brings jobs and investment

The UK and France have put the green economy and energy security at the heart of their relationship. This came as companies from both nations agreed a raft of commercial deals, and the two governments signed up to new agreements to cooperate on energy issues.

Deals signed in the presence of Prime Minister Cameron and President Sarkozy include:

  • A groundbreaking deal worth £400m on nuclear reactors between Rolls Royce and Areva, including the first EPR reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset. This will underpin a new Rolls Royce factory in Rotherham and support 1,200 new jobs across the nuclear supply chain in Britain;
  • A new engineering contract between EDF and Kier/BAM for the UK’s first proposed new nuclear project at Hinkley Point, Somerset, meaning another £100m for companies operating in the South West and 350 jobs;
  • A £15m investment in a new world class training campus in Bridgwater, Somerset for EDF employees, new starters and the local community.

Welcoming the strength of the UK- France energy relationship and their joint commitment to the transition to a low carbon economy, the two Governments agreed:

  • A call for further studies into electricity interconnection between the UK and France;
  • A deal to extend cooperation on civil nuclear security and share best practice on security at nuclear sites;
  • An agreement to cooperate closely on research and development in the nuclear industry;
  • A commitment to work closely to ensure that both nations’ nuclear industries have the necessary skills in place.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Today’s summit shows the strength and depth of Britain’s ties with France. At our last summit, we signed a historic partnership on defence.

“Today, we are matching that ambition on nuclear energy. As two great civil nuclear nations, we will combine our expertise to strengthen industrial partnership, improve nuclear safety and create jobs at home.

“The deals signed today will create more than 1,500 jobs in the UK but they are just the beginning. My goal is clear. I want the vast majority of the content of our new nuclear plants to be constructed, manufactured and engineered by British companies. And we will choose the partners and technologies to maximise the economic benefits to the UK. Today marks an important first step towards that. A good deal for Britain and a good deal for France.”

Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: “We need hundreds billions of pounds of investment in clean energy projects in the UK. This will bring high-skilled job opportunities the length and breadth of the country. Construction workers, engineers, technicians – they will all have a role to play.

“There are plans for new nuclear in Somerset, Suffolk, Cumbria, North Wales and Gloucestershire. Supply chains will spring up too, and extend the reach of economic benefit across the country. This investment could be worth around £60billion and create up to 30,000 jobs.

“The deals signed today reflect our ongoing desire to work closely together with our French allies and the private sector on nuclear, and across the energy mix.”

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