The Swedish firm Vattenfall has said that it is opting out of the race to build new plants in the UK for 12-18 months due to the “economic recession and market conditions.”

Vattenfall’s chief executive Lars Josefsson told the Reuters Energy Summit that the recession and sharp fall in energy prices had left investment decisions related to Britain’s plans to let private companies build new plants more uncertain. But the company said that it “retains a significant interest in the UK energy market, and will continue to monitor developments in UK new build.”

Meanwhile French energy giant EDF has been calling for financial support from the UK government, even though it won’t make a final decision on whether to go ahead with its planned fleet of EPRs until at least 2011. In a May interview with the UK Financial Times, chief executive of the UK subsidiary of EDF Vincent de Rivaz called for “a level playing field” for nuclear, to allow it to compete with other low-carbon energy sources. In the article he warned that unless the government provides financial support for the industry new nuclear power stations will not be built.

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