France and Britain seal deals on nuclear cooperation

FILE PHOTO: French President Macron and Britain's Prime Minister Sunak attend a joint news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris

By America Hernandez

PARIS (Reuters) - France and Britain signed two energy partnership agreements on Friday, emphasising nuclear power as a secure source of low-carbon energy.

The deals were announced during a bilateral summit in Paris spanning energy, defence and migration.

"France and the UK are working together so that never again can the likes of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin weaponise our energy security," British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told a news conference in Paris.

"We are creating a future where every watt of energy powering our homes and industry will come from secure, sustainable and reliable sources."

French President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped the British could share their know-how in offshore wind - a technology that France has struggled to scale up.

Under the first of the two agreements, France will consider building electricity interconnectors with its neighbour to increase cross-border energy flows.

Both countries will also cooperate on clean-energy technology, such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

A second nuclear-specific agreement establishes a working group on nuclear innovation and safety, with both countries building nuclear plants, both full-sized and small modular reactors. Reducing reliance on Russia for civil nuclear goods was also mentioned as a priority.

"We have a common ambition, and that is to exit fossil fuels," Macron said.

French utility EDF is already building a nuclear plant in Britain, Sizewell C, with a second project in the pipeline, Hinkley Point C.

(Reporting by America Hernandez; editing by Barbara Lewis)