They are understood to be: GE in partnership with Cerberus Global Investments; Shaw Group in partnership with Doosan of Korea; MHI; and Toshiba.

Another development is that the BNFL shareholding in the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor project, under development in South Africa, has been transferred to Westinghouse and will be included in the sale.

According to Jaco Kriek, CEO of Pretoria based PBMR (Pty) Ltd, all the companies on the short list are “positive about the PBMR.”

The company is expected to sell for around £1 billion ($1.65 billion) with a preferred bidder expected to be chosen within the next month or two.

NM Rothschild is overseeing the sale.