BRITISH ENERGY, the privatised nuclear giant, needs to come up with around £450 million to avoid collapse. The company doesn't have the money. A secret plan, codenamed Project Blue, has been drawn up by government officials. It involves taking British Energy back into public ownership, costing a minimum of £500 million.
British Energy was privatised six years ago. This was supposed to lead to competition and a big fall in prices. But the collapse of Enron, the world's largest trader of power contracts, left a huge hole no other company is willing or able to fill.
Other electricity companies have simply ignored the market and bought electricity from themselves. The government should shut down the deadly nuclear industry, not bail it out.