Foreign firms pull out of British nuclear expansion

Wylfa in North Wales was one of two sites due for expansion Credit: ITN

Two of Britain's 'big six' energy companies have pulled out of plans to develop new nuclear power plants in Britain.

RWE npower and E.ON have decided against proceeding with their "Horizon" project, which would have developed new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire.

The German-owned firms are looking for a new owner for Horizon Nuclear Power, blaming the high costs of the project and the global economic crisis for their decision.

Shadow chancellor Ed Ball claims foreign firms are thinking twice about investing in the UK due to a confusing energy policy and the Government's current economic plans.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.ON UK insisted his firm was still committed to investing in Britain.

E.ON has decided to focus its investment in the UK on other strategic projects that will allow us to deliver earlier benefit for customers and our company, rather than the very long term and large investment new nuclear power calls for. Our commitment to the UK remains as strong as ever and as our track record shows, with over £1 billion of investment in the last year alone, we will continue to select the right projects in which to invest.

Environmental groups claim the announcement proves that nuclear power, which provides just under a fifth of Britain's electricity supplies, should not be part of the UK's future energy mix.

Greenpeace UK's policy director Doug Parr says the Government needs to reconsider its energy strategy, with a nuclear future now clearly no longer a viable option.

ITV News' Damon Green says the decision by RWE npower and E.ON leaves the Government's plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations in disarray.