Britain is close to signing a 35-year deal with French energy group EDF to build the first of a new wave of nuclear power plants after reaching an agreement on subsidies, the Independent newspaper reported on Sunday.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey will grant planning permission for EDF's power plant in Hinkley Point on March 19, a day before the budget, the paper reported.
The Independent said that EDF and government negotiators had reached a compromise on how long a subsidy could be guaranteed after talks had been revolving around the "strike price", or the minimum EDF would be paid for any electricity generated.
Citing industry sources, the paper said the strike price being discussed was about 96 to 97 pounds per megawatt hour, towards the bottom end of the anticipated 95 to 99.50 pounds range.
EDF's demand for a 40-year guarantee in exchange for a relatively low price has been a sticking point for the deal.
There is not expected to be an announcement of a deal before the budget, but EDF wants to complete talks by the end of the month, the Independent said.
(Reporting by Karen Rebelo in Bangalore; Editing by Ed Davies)