Spanish utility Iberdrola and Britain's Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) have announced plans to create a joint venture to participate in the UK nuclear new build program. Meanwhile, the sale of land next to existing UK plants is progressing.
In a statement, the companies said, "Working with the relevant UK government agencies, the joint venture's initial aim is to secure sites suitable for nuclear power stations."
The statement added, "While each partner brings high quality relationships with equipment suppliers, the joint venture will not be bound to any single vendor for new nuclear development, and will be able to make use of the best available technology for each element of the nuclear new build program."
"Both Iberdrola and SSE may consider adding partners to the joint venture in the future," the statement said.
Pedro Azagra, director of development at Iberdrola, said: "Iberdrola is committed to the UK market, and welcomes the UK government's plans to develop new nuclear power plants for low-carbon energy supply."
Iberdrola was one of six major European utilities that have provided resources and shared the costs of taking Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor design through the UK Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process.
SSE's director of energy supply Alistair Phillips-Davies, said: "We accept that one more tranche of nuclear power stations is necessary for the UK's energy policy goals from around the end of the next decade. We also recognise that we will have to continue to be able to source power generated from nuclear stations if we are to be able to meet our customers' energy needs in the long term."
He added, "Our decision to participate in this venture is consistent with both of these points, and our long-standing willingness to work with other parties in this area, and complements our core investment strategy in renewables."
Land sale progresses
The announcement of SSE's joint venture with Iberdrola comes after the deadline for companies to express an interest in taking part in an auction to buy land adjacent to the existing nuclear power plants at Wylfa in Anglesey, Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Bradwell in Essex.
On 10 September, the NDA announced that it was preparing an initial tranche of land sales. It identified areas of land to be disposed of in the first tranche of its land disposal programme adjacent to existing plants at Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell. It subsequently announced that it had reached agreement with EdF for the simultaneous marketing of the land owned by NDA at these sites along with the land owned by EdF at Wylfa. The NDA launched its call for expressions of interest for the purchase of the land in late November.
John Clarke, commercial director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), said, "The asset disposal program is progressing well and we are very pleased with the response to our call for expressions of interest. We now have a pool of bidders which means the NDA can be confident in delivering value through this disposal process." He added, "We aim to complete the auctions in the first quarter of 2009."
The NDA did not disclose which companies had expressed an interest in acquiring the land.