EC grant approval for British Energy

APPROVAL for a £650 million emergency government loan to British Energy has been approved by the European Commission.The loan will help the power giant – which owns Sizewell B power station – keep in business.

APPROVAL for a £650 million emergency government loan to British Energy has been approved by the European Commission.

The loan will help the power giant – which owns Sizewell B power station – keep in business.

The aid was warranted on the grounds that there was a risk of disruption in the supply of electricity and to ensure nuclear safety, said the Commission.

But it said aid would be "strictly limited" to the amount necessary to keep the company afloat, and has set a cap of £899 million, plus £276 million for contingencies.

Welcoming the announcement, the Department of Trade and Industry said: "The purpose of the rescue aid which we agreed in September, and the subsequent extension of the loan to the end of November, is to allow BE to continue operating safely, and to maintain energy supplies.

"It also allows time for us to consider options for the long term future of the company."

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However, Greenpeace, which is mounting a legal challenge against the loan, attacked the EC's decision and rejected the Government's belief that the load was needed on grounds of safety and security of supply.