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What does the new nuclear agreement announced between UK and China really mean?

PUBLISHED: 08:17 22 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:31 22 October 2015

China's President Xi Jinping and  Prime Minister David Cameron attend a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London on the second day of his state visit to the UK Suzanne Plunkett  /PA Wire

China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron attend a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London on the second day of his state visit to the UK Suzanne Plunkett /PA Wire

Chinese investment in nuclear power was the centrepiece of a visit where Prime Minister David Cameron and President Xi Jinping hailed a “golden age” in the relationship between their two countries.

The long-anticipated four-page nuclear “Statement of Co-operation” moves the Somerset plan for Hinkley Point C a step closer, and with it Sizewell C and a new power station in Bradwell.

But it is non-binding and has no legal status. There are still final decisions to be made by EDF in Somerset and Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, will only confirm the price the Government will guarantee for nuclear energy when a full investment decision is signed. At £18bn, it is hard work finding the cash to build new nuclear power stations.

International or government investments appear to be only options after Centrica pulled out of nuclear new build projects in 2013.

The move has its critics, among them security sources concerned about cyber attacks.

And statements about “maximising” the economic and social benefits for local communities and the UK, and assurances it will be “safe and secure” were also designed to ally fears of going into business with the Chinese.

The importance of this agreement was reflected in the fact that it was left to the two heads of government to announce it to the world.

From Grand State Banquet at Buckingham Palace to the red carpet which was rolled out at Number 10, the VIP treatment has been laid on for Chinese President Xi.

As Chinese President Xi made clear, it is hoped this agreement could be the start of something. He knows that the country’s reputation will be on the line and there is a lot at stake.

For Mr Cameron, desperate to address our dwindling energy supplies and sign big business deals, there was much talking up of relations which he said had “improved significantly” since he first met the Chinese President eight years ago.

“The more we trade together, the more we have a stake in each others’ success and the more we understand each other, the more we can work together to confront the problems that face our world today.”

The sub-text is the hope that Chinese billions will come to the rescue of nuclear project which have so far failed to get off the ground.

A 50-year-old man from Cambridgeshire who was arrested after a fatal crash on the A140 on Tuesday will appear in court tomorrow to face dangerous driving charges.

A jealous Suffolk man who fired a BB gun at a car after finding text messages from the vehicle’s owner on his partner’s phone has been jailed for ten months.

A former geography teacher from Essex says that schoolchildren should be taught more about what to do if a natural disaster occurs after getting caught up in the earthquake which hit Kos last week.

Proposals for an accommodation complex housing 2,400 power station construction workers in Suffolk have been criticised in an independent report – with energy bosses urged to rethink the plans.

An Ipswich computer repairer who downloaded child porn has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him straight to prison.

Just weeks after the Ipswich Park and Ride service was relaunched with a new service run by First Eastern Counties, part of its site at Copdock Mill has been put up for sale.

A Suffolk footballer who lost both his legs in a horrific hit and run crash has fulfilled his ambition of walking down the aisle on his wedding day.

A woman in her 70s suffered injuries after an “unkempt” man is reported to have shouted and pushed her to the ground in a Suffolk high street.

Children and parents came face-to-face with all manner of creepy crawlies at the Wildlife Family Fun Day at Holywells Park in Ipswich today.

An accident involving a motorbike and car on the A14 near the Orwell Bridge was resolved with little disruption and no major injuries.

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