British Energy warned the UK government that it could face insolvency if it did not receive immediate financial assistance.
In a statement issued after the London stock market had closed, the UK's biggest nuclear generator said ministers had agreed to hold talks on providing "financial support and to enable a longer term restructuring to take place". The UK Department of Trade and Industry insisted there would be no railtrack-style bailout. The government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of nuclear generation and the security of the electricity supply. They are the reasons why we are participating in this process. The generator, which produces more than 20 per cent of Britain's electricity, is also seeking a buyer for its US nuclear power interests. These include a sister plant to the power station at Three Mile Island which suffered a near melt-down in 1979 in one of the world's worst nuclear accidents. Analysts said the company's 50 per cent stake in Amergen, which operates three US nuclear power stations, could be worth $470m. Exelon, the US energy group, which owns the other half of Amergen, is also considering selling its stake. British Energy is facing a liquidity crisis as a result of very low British power prices. Its problems have been exacerbated by the closure of two Scottish reactors following problems with a cooling system.