The government will restart talks with EDF on its plan to build a nuclear reactor at Sizewell C in Suffolk, and may take a direct financial stake in its construction.
The latest round of negotiations over the £20bn nuclear reactor will focus on whether EDF can prove that it has learned lessons from the Hinkley Point nuclear project, and that a successor plant would offer the public value for money.
The government said it is considering a new deal to help the French state-owned energy company finance Sizewell, which may include taking a direct stake in the project and putting taxpayers on the hook for any cost overruns.
A statement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it would consider a greater role in the project provided there is “clear value for money for consumers and taxpayers”.
The decision to restart formal negotiations comes after a hiatus in talks which have been dogged by concerns over cost, and the involvement of China General Nuclear Power (CGN) which holds a 20% stake in the project.
CGN is reportedly considering backing out of the project, which would leave a financing gap for EDF if the UK government is unwilling to help pay for the construction costs.
The government is also considering support for a new generation of small modular nuclear reactors, or “mini nukes”, which can be built at a lower cost.