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£10bn power station a step closer

Britain's nuclear power industry was boosted today when a joint venture deal brought the building of a new £10 billion power station a step closer.

Japanese engineering and technology firm Toshiba has signed an agreement to buy 60% of NuGen, the UK-based group that plans to build three nuclear reactors next to the Sellafield site in west Cumbria.

The remaining 40% of NuGen remains with European energy business GDF Suez.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2024, will create up to 21,000 jobs and will generate 3.4 gigawatts of energy, which is enough to power six million homes, equivalent to 7% of the UK's electricity requirement.

The deal represents the completion of an agreement in January when Toshiba agreed in principle to buy a majority stake in the project for £102 million.

The three reactors will be built on the Moorside site near the existing Sellafield nuclear complex, and will take approximately four years each to build.

The group said the final investment decision for the project will be taken by the end of 2018.

Westinghouse Electric Company, which is owned by Toshiba, will supply the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurised water reactors.

Toshiba president and chief executive Hisao Tanaka said the latest deal "reconfirms" the commitment of Toshiba, Westinghouse and GDF Suez to go ahead with a new nuclear complex at the site.

Westinghouse president and chief executive Danny Roderick added: "The local economy will reap many benefits as a result of this project, including calling upon the local supply chain, and creating thousands of skilled jobs."

The move also fits in with the Government's commitment to low carbon energy as well as its long-running strategy of attracting major foreign investment to help strengthen the UK economy.

Energy minister Michael Fallon said: "This announcement is a significant step towards new reactors likely to come online in 2024 and shows how attractive the UK is for investors."

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