The UK’s government is reportedly within weeks of signing a contract with the French energy company EDF to build the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.
According to the Finacial Times, UK’s energy minister Michael Fallon said he was "working intensely" to close the deal after a lengthy negotiation process. "We're not quite there yet, but I hope we will be in the next few weeks," Fallon was reported to say.
Hinkley Point in Somerset is about to become UK’s first new nuclear power plant in decades. The undertaking, according to Fallon, will send out a strong signal about Britain’s long-term commitment to the controversial source of energy.
The government believes the plant’s construction has the potential to invite new investment opportunities. According to Fallon, a number of East Asian investors, including South Korea, China and Japan, had already shown an interest in UK reactors.
"There's intense interest there because people can see that finally we're getting our civil nuclear programme moving again after the long dead Labour years," said Mr Fallon.
Negotiations with EDF stalled earlier this year after they could not agree on the so-called "strike price", the guaranteed price at which electricity can be sold.
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, which signed a co-operation agreement with EDF, could claim a 49 per cent stake in the £14 billion infrastructure project.
In his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week, Chancellor George Osborne said: "Should we, the country that built the first civil nuclear power station, say: 'We are never going to build any more - leave it to others'? Not on my watch."