There is more uncertainty about the place of nuclear power in the UK’s energy future after it emerged that a favourite bidder in the race to build the country’s new generation of nuclear reactors has opted to pull out.

French group Areva Euronext (CEI) in conjunction with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation was expected to table a bid for the Horizon joint venture and thought most likely to meet the estimated $48bn required to build reactors at six Horizon sites.

Nuclear power plantHowever the consortium failed to make a final offer by deadline on Friday, and questions will now be raised about who can bankroll the UK’s nuclear energy objectives.

The withdrawal of the most credible bidder narrows the field down to a two-horse race between a group led by Hitachi of Japan and Westinghouse Electric, which is owned by Toshiba.

A winner is due to be announced within the next few weeks for the project.

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