Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Sunday, 10 May 2009 17:14 UK

Centrica 'to buy nuclear stake'

Nuclear power plant at Dungeness
British Energy has eight nuclear plants across the UK

British Gas owner Centrica is reported to be on the brink of buying a 25% stake in nuclear firm British Energy.

Centrica could sign the deal with British Energy's French owner EDF as early as Monday, reports have said.

EDF and Centrica first agreed a £3.1bn deal in principal last summer, but talks have dragged on as electricity prices have fallen.

Centrica was not available to comment. British Energy runs eight UK nuclear plants and has plans for two more.

It hopes to build these as part of the UK government's plans for the country to get more of its electricity from nuclear generation.

Analysts say it is this likely expansion that makes British Energy such an attractive investment.

Nuclear giant

EDF's £12.5bn takeover of British Energy was first announced in September, with the deal finally concluded in January of this year.

Sizewell B
Dungeness B
Hinkley Point B
Heysham 1
Heysham 2
Hunterston B

The French firm is the world's biggest operator of nuclear power stations.

British Energy's eight existing power stations are Dungeness B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2, Hinkley Point B, Hunterston B, Sizewell B and Torness.

It plans to build new ones at Hinkley Point and Sizewell.

Centrica's holds its annual general meeting on Monday.

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