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British Energy will be split into three separate companies to win European Commission approval for its £5bn rescue deal. The company was rescued by a British government financial package in 2002 after a slump in UK power prices.

The three companies will be jointly owned but must be financially independent with separate accounts. These will be a nuclear power generator, a coal power generator and an energy sales firm.

The nuclear company will receive British government aid for decommissioning plant between now and 2086 but will be barred from sharing this money with the other businesses. The coal firm, solely comprising Eggborough power station, will not expand.

The parent company will be barred from building any additional generating capacity unless it is from renewable energy sources and the sales company will sell electricity produced by the other two firms.

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