Iberdrola looks for new-build opportunities

06 August 2009

Iberdrola's potential involvement with nuclear power outside of Spain has stepped up in recent days after talks with Russian firms over Kaliningrad and involvement in the Sellafield land sale.


Apart from stakes in seven Spanish power reactors Iberdrola has substantial nuclear links abroad, mainly forged by its engineering division which has undertaken a range of power projects including nuclear jobs like steam generator replacement in Mexico and construction in Romania. This division is also leading the company's potential involvement with the project for new reactors in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which sits on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania.


The strategic project by Russia, which is seen as a rival to the replacement of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania, is slated to begin construction next year. Investors for up to 49% of this Baltic plant are being sought by Rosatom - and Iberdrola confirmed the participation of its engineering department in talks to World Nuclear News.


Negotiations were said to be at an exploratory stage, and far too early for speculation on what roles any investors may take in constructing, owning and operating the two 1200 MWe reactors on the drawing boards.


Another new build opportunity for Iberdrola could come in the UK, where it is part of a consortium with Scottish & Southern and GdF-Suez. Iberdrola confirmed it has put in an expression of interest in a new package of land adjoining Sellafield which is coming up for sale by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).


The NDA confirmed "interest has been healthy" in the sale, the method of which it is currently considering based on the specifics of the expressions it has recieved. The last sale of land packages was carried out using an online auction system that netted £ million for the NDA. The same system is one of the options open to the authority, alongside more conventional methods. It hopes to have the sale completed before the end of this year.


The site is huge. Its 250 hectares is about equal to Sellafield itself, which contains - in various states of operation and decommissioning - four Magnox power reactors, one prototype AGR, the two military Windscale reactors, two reprocessing plants, a MOX fuel factory, a vitrification line and high-level waste store.


In addition to the Sellafield land EdF Energy has started a process to sell development land at either Dungeness or Heysham, and will also sell land at Bradwell if it gains planning consent for two EPRs at Sizewell C.


Filed under: This article is not categorised