Potential nuclear reactor sites go up for sale
The Guardian, Thursday November 27 2008
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the organisation given the job of decommissioning and cleaning up Britian's civil nuclear sites, is selling land at Bradwell in Essex, Oldbury in Gloucester and Wylfa in Anglesey, close to existing Magnox reactors. Part of the land at Wylfa belongs to EDF, the state-owned French company that is bidding for Britain 's nuclear generator, British Energy.
The government is keen to see the construction of a new generation of nuclear reactors to replace Britain 's ageing stock as part of what it sees as the development of a balanced portfolio of power generation.
Sites close to existing nuclear plants are seen as the most likely locations, in part because of existing connections to the National Grid and partly because of the contribution of the existing sites to local economies.
The government has said it wants to see more than one company come forward to build the next generation of nuclear power stations and the sale of the sites is seen as opening the door to another player in addition to EDF.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said yesterday: "We've been clear that we want to see more than one new nuclear operator in the UK and this sale has the potential to make that a reality. The land on offer will be highly attractive to power companies interested in new-build, alongside separate plans from EDF for four reactors on British Energy sites."
The NDA said yesterday it planned to hold discussions with interested parties, after which it would be open to potential bidders to submit indicative proposals.
"Participants in the process will be given the opportunity to visit the land for sale, evaluate the opportunity and perform due diligence," the NDA said in a statement.
EDF said it supported the government's objective to have more than one participant in new nuclear power stations in the UK . "The sites arrangements between EDF and the government announced previously are designed to facilitate the entry of other new nuclear operators in the UK ."
The NDA plans to hold an auction in the first three months of next year but the timetable depends on EDF's bid for British Energy becoming unconditional.
The NDA said both it and EDF would be looking to get the best price for the land subject to "certain conditions" which, in the case of the NDA, includes the approval of DECC.
The existing Oldbury power station is due to close next month and Wylfa in March 2010. Bradwell is already being dismantled.