Energy secretary Ed Davey has said that the UK is “extremely close” to reaching a deal that see “massive” investment in the British nuclear sector.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Davey said that in a recent trip to China, he had made “huge progress” in attracting investors from the far east that would help develop a nuclear project at Hinkley Point in Somerset
The deal would see Chinese General Nuclear Power Group hold a 49% stake in the project, which is being led by French energy company EDF.
“The Chinese, along with the Japanese and Koreans, are very interested in the opportunities in the British nuclear sector”, Davey said.
“I think it is really possible we will see massive Chinese investment, not just in nuclear but across the board.”
Labour has been questioning whether the coalition has commitments to stop “overcharging” consumers for energy. Davey conceded that energy prices will increase to pay for nuclear projects, saying that it was out of his control.
Labour leader Ed Miliband sparked debate earlier this month when he pledged to freeze energy prices to protect consumers from “profiteering”.
Meanwhile, the chancellor George Osborne also stepped up plans to intensify Chinese-British relations. It was announced on Monday that Manchester Airport will receive an £800m investment from the far east, which is anticipated to create 16,000 jobs in the north of England.