New reactors look likely near Sellafield after a large potential site for a power plant was purchased by Iberdrola, GdF-Suez and Scottish & Southern. Up to 3.6 GWe of nuclear capacity is planned.
|The 250 hectare plot originally put up
for sale. There should be enough for a
second power plant, even after
allowing for today's plans for 3.6 GWe.
The trio has secured a 190 hectare plot of land to the north of the UK's main fuel-cycle centre, Sellafield, for £70 million ($114 million) according to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which sold the land.
The sale came after an offer of a 250 hectare zone earmarked for divestment in the rapidly-developing UK new build market. NDA spokesman Bill Hamilton told World Nuclear News that the consortium would have the opportunity to "cherry pick" precisely the site it wants from the 190 hectares and return the remainder to the NDA. Anything returned could be combined with the unsold 60 hectares for a new sale in future: "This is not the end of the story for new nuclear at Sellafield."
The purchase of the land marks a big step forward for the consortium, which said it is planning to begin construction of up to 3.6 GWe of new capacity at the site in 2015. "The consortium will also complete the preparation of a plan for maximising the contribution of UK-based suppliers and UK-based employees to the new development at Sellafield," it announced.
The companies missed out on a previous land auction run by NDA in collaboration with Electricité de France, that had surplus land following the purchase of British Energy and all its sites. During that sale, the RWE/EOn
"These latest plans,
together with the
ambition of existing
plans from two other
operators, mean that
new nuclear could
power the equivalent of
all 26 million homes in
UK energy and climate
consortium was able to pick up sites at Wylfa and Oldbury. Further sales are to come from EdF as it complies with British government requirements after the BE purchase. It will sell a site at Bradwell if it gains planning consent for Sizewell C and must also sell one site at either at Dungeness of Heysham.
EdF's UK subsidiary EDF Energy is planning to build a total of four Areva EPRs amounting to 6.6 GWe at Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C, but the other consortia have so far not revealed technology decisions. RWE an EOn have previously said they would wait until the end of the Generic Design Assessment procedure in June 2011 to pick between EPR and Westinghouse's AP1000 for the 6 GWe they want to build.
Taken together, these plans amount to 16.2 GWe of potential new nuclear capacity. More than enough to replace the UK's retiring legacy nuclear fleet. UK energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said "These latest plans, together with the ambition of existing plans from two other operators, mean that new nuclear could power the equivalent of all 26 million homes in the UK."