BBC World Service

Britain, France to sign nuclear energy deal

Adriene Hill Feb 17, 2012

Adriene Hill: Now to Paris, where Britain and France will sign a deal that’ll pave the way for new nuclear power plants in the U.K. It’s one of the first big commitments to nuclear energy since the Fukishma disaster in Japan. For more we have the BBC’s Paris correspondent Hugh Scofield with us now. Good morning, Hugh.

Hugh Scofield: Good morning.

Hill: So why are Britain and France working on this nuclear deal together today?

Scofield: France has a long history in nuclear power and is the kind of preeminent player in nuclear power in Europe. Britain, which does have some nuclear power stations, wants to renew its stock of nuclear power. It wants to start building. And for that it needs French know-how. French companies are already heavily invested in the British infrastructure. They bought into British power companies and now they’re going to go further and the big French names are going to be helping build, basically, this new generation of British power stations.

Hill: Now after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Germany actually decided to phase out nuclear power. Why are Britain and France moving in the opposite direction here?

Scofield: It’s very much about national sensibilities. Germany has always been very, very sensitive on the issue of nuclear power and has a very, very strong green movement that’s opposed to it. Those forces are much less prevalent in Britain. They’re not not there, but they’re not nearly as powerful. The sort of greater general feeling in Britain — and France, I think — is that nuclear power has to be part of the mix.

Hill: The BBC’s Hugh Scofield, thanks.

Scofield: Thank you.

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