Energy company Centrica is considering pumping cash into the construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast, its chief executive has revealed.

Chris O’Shea said the Suffolk site was a “possible future investment” as the government tries to secure funding for the project.

Ministers are bidding to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from private companies to help build the plant, near Leiston.

East Anglian Daily Times: Centrica boss Chris O'SheaCentrica boss Chris O'Shea (Image: PA)

In 2015 French state-owned nuclear giant EDF announced that it had agreed to develop Sizewell C with China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).

But increasing tensions between London and Beijing over the years finally led to the government deciding it did not want a Chinese company involved in one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects.

The government then ended up buying out CGN and has promised to put hundreds of millions into the site.

It now wants to find other investors to help build the power plant.

Mr O’Shea said: "It’s no secret that the government and EDF are looking to put together a consortium to construct a new nuclear power station at Sizewell.

"We are involved in that process, and we could be interested in investing in that. But the risk and the return has to be right.

“I’m pretty limited as to what I can say. That is a possible future investment for Centrica, but it has to be on the right terms."

But Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, said: "Given that Centrica pulled out of Hinkley Point C and recently tried to sell its stake in the UK's existing nuclear fleet, this interest in Sizewell C is curious.

"Chris O'Shea says the 'risk and reward return has to be right', to which we read the risks must be minimal - meaning a large share of the risk would be imposed on households - and the rewards large, both of which factors would damage Sizewell C's value for money for consumers."

In mid-January, the first steps in construction of the Sizewell C project were made – but diggers are not expected to arrive on the site until the spring.

Nuclear minister Andrew Bowie was joined by Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey, local council and community representatives and nuclear bosses to mark the official start of works.

Mr Bowie hailed it as a "hugely significant day".