“You only have one crack at state aid,” says Matthew Williams, special counsel at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, lead legal adviser for the British Energy creditors. His comment highlights the importance for the stricken nuclear generator to show its business is viable going forward.

At issue is the UK government's underwriting of the huge decommissioning liabilities of the British Energy fleet of plants. These liabilities - estimated at around £4 billion ($6.8 billion) - would sink th