China's leader is expected to put the seal later on its contribution to what will be the first UK nuclear power plant to be built in a generation. The plant could be opened by 2025 at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, with China likely to cover about 30% of the cost.

President Xi Jinping is meeting Prime Minister David Cameron later, on the second day of his UK state visit. More than £30bn worth of deals between the UK and China are expected to be struck during the four-day visit.

The plant will be built by French energy firm EDF, in conjunction with a consortium led by Chinese state-owned nuclear company CGN. Two other nuclear power stations, at Sizewell in Suffolk, and Bradwell in Essex, could follow as part of the deal with China.

Last month, Chancellor George Osborne visited China and secured the deal under which Beijing will invest in Hinkley Point. The Hinkley Point project has come under fire over its cost and the delays to investment decisions and the timetable for building. The original plan was for Hinkley Point to start generating electricity by 2023.

During the first full day of his visit on Monday, Mr Xi said he believed the UK and China were becoming more interdependent and a "community of shared interests". Addressing peers and MPs in Westminster, the Chinese leader said that, although his visit had just started, he was "deeply impressed by the vitality of China-UK relations".

He and his wife, Peng Liyuan were welcomed by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Mr Cameron during a ceremony in Horse Guards Parade before attending a state banquet at Buckingham Palace along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

The Treasury hopes that within 10 years China will be Britain's second biggest trading partner. But the visit comes amid job losses in the UK steel sector, with cheap Chinese imports among the factors being blamed.

The president will also visit Imperial College London, accompanied by the Duke of York and Chancellor George Osborne, and attend a creative industries event with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Courtesy: BBC