BE to 'back nuclear power'


British Energy (BE) is expected to give renewed backing for the building of new nuclear power stations this week, as it prepares to issue its full-year results.

Ahead of the government's much-vaunted energy review, BE is due to back more investment in nuclear power stations to meet future energy needs.

But it remains to be seen whether BE will start paying dividends to shareholders when it unveils its results tomorrow.

BE is expected to enjoy profits of £459.8 million, a massive improvement on losses of £122.4 million a year earlier, with a quarter of a billion pounds of investment already pledged to improve operating performance.

Livingston-based BE generates a fifth of the UK's electricity and operates eight nuclear plants, including Torness in East Lothian and Hunterston B in Ayrshire. It also controls a coal-fired plant at Eggborough in Yorkshire.

The firm avoided administration in 2003 after securing a £5 billion government-backed rescue package.

The government is thought to be considering selling part of its stake in BE, with a decision expected after the energy review is published.

The prime minister is believed to be broadly in favour of having a mix of nuclear and renewable energies as part of the government's energy programme.

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