Centrica has pulled out of plans to build new nuclear power stations in Britain with partner EDF.

The withdrawal has paved the way for Chinese investors to enter the UK market through partnership with EDF.

Centrica said it had decided to waive an option of taking a 20% stake in four new reactors – two at Hinkley Point in Somerset and two at Sizewell in Suffolk.

In a statement, Centrica Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw said ‘There are multiple factors at play here but the bigger factor is actually the (longer) schedule and the increase in cost, which obviously creates a higher economic challenge for this project.’

China’s CGNPC has already held preliminary talks with French state-owned utility EDF about a partnership in the project, which would be the first Chinese investment in Britain’s nuclear sector.

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