EDF has started the process of integrating British Energy into its UK business following completion of the takeover deal in early January.

The French utility – now the UK’s largest electricity generator – will implement a new structure and management team at EDF Energy, its UK arm, and says that the integration will enable it to move forward with its plans to build new nuclear power plants in the country.

“Today, we have taken the first steps towards creating a strong integrated company in the UK which will play a key role in ensuring the country has secure, affordable and clean energy supplies,” said Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of the newly enlarged EDF Energy. “This combination with British Energy is a significant milestone which reinforces EDF Energy’s strategy as a vertically integrated energy company with leading roles in generation, distribution and supply of energy.”

The completion of the £12.5 billion takeover has been welcomed by the UK government, which wants the private sector to develop a new fleet of nuclear power plants. EDF has plans to construct four EPR reactors in the UK, and says it can bring the first one on-line in 2017.

Other companies reportedly interested in the construction of new nuclear plants in the UK include RWE npower and E.On.

“This deal is also a key step in EDF’s strategy to play a leading role in the global nuclear revival, in securing a bright future for British Energy and its employees and in bringing forward the new nuclear build in the UK,” said de Rivaz. “We can now move forward with our plans to build four new EPRs by 2025.”

EDF Energy will now consist of four business units covering existing nuclear, nuclear new build, energy sourcing and customer supply, and networks. The existing nuclear business will be led by Bill Coley, British Energy’s existing CEO, while Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, currently CFO of EDF Energy, will lead the new nuclear build business.

“Completion of this takeover represents not only a £12.5 billion investment in the UK by EDF but, in opening the way for new nuclear build, should provide many billions of pounds more opportunity for the UK supply chain,” said UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

A number of companies have been positioning themselves to take part in the UK’s plans for a nuclear revival. French engineering firm Areva has reached agreements with Rolls-Royce and Balfour Beatty covering the engineering, manufacturing and construction elements of new nuclear plants, while German utility E.On is creating a UK based team with staff from Areva and Siemens to take forward the development of two EPR projects.