French and British want to create right investment environment for new nuclear power stations - David Cameron

Francois Hollande

Francois Hollande - Credit: AP

Britain and France have agreed to extend nuclear co-operation as David Cameron said the two countries wanted to create the right environment for new nuclear power stations.

The Prime Minister announced a new agreement with French President Francois Hollande at an RAF air base in his Oxfordshire constituency.

French energy giant EDF committed last year to build a new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, and the governments signed a memorandum of understanding on involving small and medium-sized firms in the nuclear supply chain and co-operation between researchers on both sides of the Channel.

Mr Cameron said at a press conference following the meeting the two countries wanted to develop a first-class nuclear industry by creating the right investment environment for new nuclear power stations, following EDF's plan to build the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

It is hoped that the strike price deal for the Somerset project will pave the way for a new power station at Sizewell C, about which EDF has held its first stage of consultation.

Mr Cameron added: 'Today, we have agreed to take our co-operation to the next level with a new partnership to increase commercial opportunities for small and medium sized businesses involved in the nuclear supply chain. And increased collaboration between our universities, research institutes and business will ensure we develop the skilled workforce we need.' The Prime Minister also announced a two-year £120 million feasibility study for a new armed drone, the Future Air Combat System, and said the UK and France will work together on an unmanned counter-mine craft.

Britain will offer more logistical support for the French military mission in the war-torn Central African Republic, and troops will hold a joint training exercise later in the year. Meanwhile, the UK will try out the French VBCI tank with a view to possibly purchasing it for the Army.

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Mr Cameron described the cross-Channel partnership as 'as close and important as ever'.

The Prime Minister said: 'We recognise that if we, Britain and France, do more together, our defence budgets will go further, our armed forces will benefit from better equipment and our defence industries will remain world leaders and we will be able to have a greater global impact.

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