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UK and France sign nuclear energy agreement

Prime minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy have this week announced further cooperation between the two countries on nuclear energy.

However, concerns have been raised that the alliance does not automatically mean good news for UK jobs. Institution of Mechanical Engineers head of energy Tim Fox said that the pursuit of new nuclear was welcome but that it was looking “increasingly likely” that the vast majority of the contracts involved in the manufacture and construction of the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will go to France rather than the UK

Centrepiece of the deal is French energy giant EdF’s continuing investment in the UK to build up to four nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Sizewell B in Suffolk. EdF signed off a £100M earthworks deal with contractors Bam and Kier today.

The move also includes a deal between engineering giant Rolls Royce to construct up to four reactors for nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva in Rotherham.

Consultant Atkins and French consultant Assytem have also stated their intention to collaborate on new nuclear schemes. Through its alliance Nuclear Atkins Assystem Alliance the two firms are bidding on nuclear projects across the globe, with contracts secured in Abu Dhabi and are close to deals in Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

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