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Page last updated at 06:41 GMT, Friday, 30 March 2012 07:41 UK

UK nuclear pullout 'strategic decision'

The chief executive of one of the German nuclear firms, which has pulled out of developing new nuclear power projects in the UK, has said that the decision has been made purely on strategic grounds.

Volker Beckers, CEO of RWE npower, explained to the Today programme's Evan Davis that a combination of factors led to the decision, including the global economic downturn.

He also cited the "effect of the accelerated nuclear phase-out in Germany" which has led to divestments, capital increase and a leaner capital expenditure budget.

Malcolm Grimston, associate fellow at the Energy, Environment and Development programme at Chatham House, said that the closure of nuclear plants means they have lost capital to build new ones.

The French company EDF is much bigger, so it will be able to finance development from its own resources.

He said that in a competitive market something that costs a lot to build and takes a long time to see a return on, is a much bigger risk than a gas turbine - adding that "electricity is too important to be left to the free market and therefore the government has a central role to play."

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