Application doubles Dutch new-build plans

07 September 2010

Dutch-owned Energy Resources Holding (ERH) has launched the application process for a new nuclear plant at the Netherlands' Borssele site. The plan is completely separate from another plan for new build at the site launched last year by Delta.  


Borssele (EPZ)
Borssele (Image: EPZ)

In notifying the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) of its plans, ERH has embarked on the procedure to gain authorization to build a new nuclear power plant. In its 41-page submission, the company outlines its vision for up to a maximum capacity of 2500 MWe from third-generation nuclear units, possibly one or two Westinghouse AP1000 units, a single EPR or a single boiling water reactor (BWR). According to the company's indicative planning outline, construction could start on the plant in 2015 with electricity supply from 2019.

ERH owns 50% of EPZ, operator of the existing 485 MWe single-unit PWR Borssele nuclear power station. The other 50% of EPZ is owned by Dutch utility Delta, which last year submitted a so-called 'start memorandum' to VROM for approvals for a new 1600-2500 MWe plant at Borssele, with construction starting in 2013 and a 2018 operation date. ERH points out that its application is completely separate from Delta's.

ERH is made up of Dutch local and provincial councils that were former shareholders of energy company Essent, acquired by Germany's RWE in 2009. Dutch courts ruled that Essent's 50% share of Borssele must remain in Dutch ownership, excising the Netherlands' only operating nuclear plant from the deal. According to speculation in the press, the German company could still stand to gain a foothold in Dutch nuclear generation, with an ERH spokesperson telling Reuters that ERH shareholders might in future be interested in selling RWE rights to the new plant.

A short press release from Delta said that ERH's initiative confirmed its own choice of Borssele, on the Zeeland coast, as a good site for a new nuclear plant in a country that is striving to cut its carbon emissions. An environmental impact study for Delta's proposal is in progress and the company is also in talks with potential partners.

The existing Borssele plant provides some 4% of the country's electricity, and recent years have seen the Netherlands move away from a nuclear phase-out policy as it works to reduce its carbon emissions. Current government policy on nuclear new build remains somewhat cloudy, however, with the government putting off a decision on its formal stance until at least 2011.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News