New report claims Centrica to pull out of nuclear power station plans

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A new report has suggested that Centrica are ready to pull out of plans to build a number of nuclear power stations in the UK.

The Financial Times claim a source close to the matter informed them senior management at the firm had concluded 'new nuclear' was 'not right' for the firm.

If Centrica were to pull out it could potentially pave the way for Chinese investors to step in.

At present however, the firm still has the option of a 20% stake in the four reactors due for construction.

Centrica and its partner EDF, part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme, have plans to build two sites at Hinkley Point in Somerset, and a further two at Sizewell in Suffolk.

The source told the Financial Times that the company were likely to write off over £200m that it had spent and look instead to focus investments on North America, North Sea natural gas and Race Bank, a wind farm that the firm is planning to build off of the Norfolk coast in the near future.

According to reports, the main reason for the decision is over financial concerns: Flamanville, an EDF reactor in northern France is already years behind schedule as well as billions over budget - a cause for concern amongst Centrica chiefs.

In fact, EDF recently announced the Flamanville price tag was now €8.5bn: the original budget was €3.3bn.

A spokesman for Centrica refused to comment on the report however, as did EDF.

The Wall Street Journal had previously suggested sources had told them EDF were in talks with state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. (CGNPC) over the construction of the new nuclear power plants.

Since that report, EDF director of production and engineering, Herve Machenaud, confirmed the firm were indeed set to start discussions with CGNPC on the matter.

Once the power stations are built, they will be the first new nuclear plants to be built in the UK since 1995.

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