REPORTER: Taishan in southern China - could this be the future for British energy? Finance Minister George Osborne certainly thinks so. He wants China to become a majority stake holder in a new generation of UK nuclear power plants. The two countries have signed an energy co-operation agreement. And the first deal could be imminent. State-owned China General Nuclear Power looks set to join forces with France's EDF to build a new power station at Hinkley Point.
BRITISH CHANCELLOR GEORGE OSBORNE: "We're going to make sure of course that the very stringent British rules on safety are applied. But Chinese investment in British nuclear power means British taxpayers money can be used instead of building these things for building schools and hospitals and in the long term British families get lower and more stable energy bills."
REPORTER: Britain hasn't built a new power station for almost a decade and the government doesn't have much spare cash to invest in new ones. Under the agreement Chinese technicians will be trained in the UK. And in return British companies will be given roles in China's nuclear sector. But BGC's Mike Ingram says a lot of details still need to be worked out.
MARKET ANALYST AT BGC, MIKE INGRAM: "It's all very well for, you know, George Osborne to be drumming up trade, but, you know, government's energy policy — successive governments' energy policy has been extremely erratic so, you know, he has to show the Chinese government and any would-be investor in the sector, where are the goal posts? Where are the criteria? What kind of return can they expect on that investment? Only then are countries such as China going to be confident investing in this sector in the UK."
REPORTER: The UK government has warned that Britain's shrinking power capacity could lead to blackouts as early as next winter. It hopes China's investment will help halt the decline. It could also give China's nuclear technologies the recognition they seek. And it's not the only energy deal in the pipleline — investment from South Korea and Japan is also a possibility.