The new generation of atomic power stations in the UK could mean big bucks for contractors, but is nuclear really the way forward? The latest news shows division in the industry.

• The UK’s nuclear programme took a step closer to realisation in September as French company EDF pledged to build four new UK reactors after its £12.5bn purchase of British Energy (BE). The deal, which is backed by the government but must still be approved by BE shareholders, is expected to see EDF hand two nuclear sites back to the government to auction off to other power companies.

• Vinci Construction said it will use its £74m acquisition of Taylor Woodrow to leverage a stronger position in the UK nuclear market. John Stanion, the firm’s chief executive said: ‘Taylor Woodrow has excellent references in the nuclear sector and we intend to develop a significant presence in the market, including decommissioning and the construction of new stations.’

• US engineering giant Westinghouse, one of three groups shortlisted to provide reactor designs for new plants in Britain, last month released research saying a nuclear newbuild programme in the UK could boost the economy by £30bn, including £15bn of construction.

• But Lord Rogers and Sir Norman Foster have declined invitations to take part. Their practices have refused to work with EDF, which is drawing up a design framework.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners turned down an offer to tender on ethical grounds, while Foster + Partners cited business reasons for declining to participate.