Centrica pulls out of UK nuclear JV project with EDF

British energy major Centrica Plc said on Monday that it has decided to withdraw from the construction of two new nuclear power plants in the UK due to cost overruns and project delays.

The news follows a crucial warning yesterday by the UK's parliamentary watchdog that the country's cost of disposing its mounting nuclear waste in outdated facilities would cost approximately £70 billion. (See: UK parliament worried about cost of nuclear waste)

Further to a 2009 deal, Centrica holds an option for 20-per cent stake in a joint venture with French energy giant EDF to undertake pre-development activities for the two nuclear power plants.

The proposed power stations include two European pressurised nuclear reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point C in Somerset in western England targeting around five million homes, and two EPR units located adjacent to current Sizewell B power station in Suffolk in eastern England.

The British company's 20-per cent stake in the UK's eight operating nuclear power stations owned by EDF remains unchanged.

Centrica's chief executive Sam Laidlaw said in a statement, ''We believe that nuclear generation has a valuable role to play a balanced UK energy mix.''