An industry working group has been set up to examine the implications of the construction of a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The group, which will report to the DTI, is being chaired by Bill Bryce, director of support services firm Babcock. It is expected to produce costings for the power stations.

A source close to the group said it would examine possible work schedules for decommissioning nuclear sites and assess the types of reactors that could be built.

The source said: “The group has been formed by the trade association the Nuclear Industry Association and will look at the construction sector’s capacity, knowledge and resources to deliver the proposed power stations.”

The government is assessing whether to proceed with a nuclear building programme but faces opposition from environmental groups.

It has been reported that the cabinet is split over the issue.

It is understood that the Atomic Energy Authority, which owns and operates many nuclear sites, has already been approached by companies interested in forming consortiums should the schemes go ahead, although the firms concerned are not keen to court publicity.

An exception is Sir Robert McAlpine, which is actively lobbying the government on the issue. Sir William McAlpine, a director of the firm, was due to hold a lunch on Wednesday for members of the pro-nuclear lobby group he chairs, Supporters of Nuclear Energy.