Centrica Pulls Out Of New Nuclear Plants In Britain

  • Date: 04/02/13
  • Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph

Centrica has scrapped plans to take part in the building of new UK nuclear reactors, blaming spiralling costs and delays, and has launched a £500m share buy-back. ”Since our initial investment, the anticipated project costs in new nuclear have increased and the construction timetable has extended by a number of years,” Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said.

 

Nuclear power station Rockford IL

EDF has committed to building the first two new nuclear stations in Somerset and Suffolk with Centrica Photo: Alamy

The British Gas owner had an option to take a 20pc stake in an EDF-led project to build nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. It capped months of speculation to announce its withdrawal on Monday morning.

“Since our initial investment, the anticipated project costs in new nuclear have increased and the construction timetable has extended by a number of years,” Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said.

“These factors, in particular the lengthening time frame for a return on the capital invested in a project of this scale, have led us to conclude that participation is not right for Centrica and our shareholders.”

The company warned that while there had been “progress in a number of key project areas, particularly design and planning, there remains uncertainty about overall project costs and the construction schedule”.

“In 2012 we invested over £2in securing supplies of energy for the UK and where we see attractive returns we will continue to invest in Britain’s energy future,” he said.

Mr Laidlaw said he still believed nuclear had a valuable role to play in the UK’s energy mix, but investing in the new reactors would not be right for Centrica or its shareholders.

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