Centrica pulls out of nuclear reactor project

Centrica has decided to pull out of the UK’s nuclear new-build programme and will not take part in the construction of up to four new reactors, the firm announced yesterday.

The British Gas-owned company acquired a 20 per cent interest in French firm EDF Energy’s eight nuclear power stations in the UK and an option for a 20 per cent stake in the building of new power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk.

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However yesterday it said it was withdrawing from new-builds after “a detailed appraisal of the project”. Centrica said in a statement: “While there has been progress in a number of key project areas, particularly design and planning, there remains uncertainty about overall project costs and the construction schedule.”

The firm said its 20 per cent share of the pre-development expenditure – around £200m – will be written off as an exceptional cost.