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Shale Shock: Cheap Gas Makes Nuclear Plans ‘Unattractive’

Utility Scottish and Southern Energy said it has pulled out of its UK nuclear new build consortium, raising concerns investors may see the British nuclear industry as unattractive despite government efforts to provide incentives.

The Scotland-based utility, which operates around 2,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy assets, said it wanted to focus on green energy and gas-fired power plants — technologies with which it has more experience.

“We have concluded that, for the time being, our resources are better deployed on business activities and technologies where we have the greatest knowledge and experience,” said Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE generation and supply director.

SSE’s partners in the NuGen consortium, France’s GDF Suez and Spain’s Iberdrola, said in a separate statement they intended to buy SSE’s 25 percent share in the consortium, leaving both companies with an equal share of 50 percent.

The transaction amount has not been settled but the sum will be disclosed later, once the parties have agreed on it, an SSE spokeswoman said.

The announcement deals a blow to the British government which wants to see a series of new nuclear plants in operation by 2025 and tried to reassure investors Britain was a safe market by offering policy changes to reward generators of low-carbon energy.

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