Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the UK will guarantee a £2bn deal under which China will invest in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
Mr Osborne, who is in China, said the deal would pave the way for a final investment decision on the delayed project by French energy company EDF.
He said it would also enable greater collaboration between Britain and China on the construction of nuclear plants.
Reports suggest one such reactor could be built at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd told the Financial Times she wanted Beijing to take the lead in developing new nuclear plants in Britain.
She said China was expected to lead the construction of a Beijing-designed nuclear station at the Essex site.