Delta and EDF could join for new build

04 November 2010

Dutch utility company Delta has found a potential partner for new nuclear build in Electricité de France (EdF). The two firms today agreed to collaborate towards a new nuclear power plant.  


Borssele site (EPZ) 
Borssele (Image: EPZ) 

According to a joint statement by the two companies, their memorandum of understanding (MoU) represents the first phase in a process that could eventually lead to the joint development of a new plant at the site on the Zeeland coast. The partnership will now explore the appropriate contractual structure to incorporate a joint development company at a later stage. Should the project go ahead, the companies say they will "probably" decide to include third parties as potential investors and off-takers for the plant's output.

Delta owns 50% of the existing 485 MWe single unit pressurised water reactor at Borssele, the only operating nuclear power station in the Netherlands, through operating company EPZ. In June 2009, Delta embarked on the first step towards building a second plant at the site when it submitted a start-up memorandum to the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. Just over a year later EPZ's other owner, Energy Resources Holding (ERH), submitted a separate start-up memorandum for a new plant also at Borssele.

Political support towards nuclear new build in the Netherlands appears to be strengthening, having swung slowly from a 1994 parliamentary decision to phase out the plant by 2003, through postponement of the closure date to the 2005 abandonment of the closure plans with the plant now scheduled to operate until 2034. The current Dutch coalition government has recently affirmed its willingness to consider nuclear new build. In the official government statement on taking office on 26 October, incoming prime minister Mark Rutte noted that the security of energy supply would remain a policy spearhead, along with efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions in line with European targets. "In this same spirit, the government will be open to issuing permits for new nuclear power plants," he said.

Delta CEO Peter Boerma expressed his delight at the new partnership with EdF. "It is important for a project of this scope not just to find a partner that is experienced in building, running and managing nuclear power plants, but also to find a good match," he said, going on to describe the successful partnership already achieved by the two companies in building and operating a 900 MWe gas-fired power station at Sloe in the Netherlands.

Delta has already taken out an option on the land that would be required for the construction of the new Borssele plant, and started surveys for an environmental impact report. Previous announcements have suggested a construction start date of 2013 with operation planned for 2018.

EdF is not the only player interested in strengthening its presence in the Netherlands. A 2009 takeover of Dutch utility Essent by Germany's RWE saw Delta take legal steps to ensure that Borssele, in which Essent held a 50% share at the time, remained in Dutch ownership. The Dutch court ruled in its favour and ERH, co-owner with Delta of the existing Borssele plant, was formed from the Dutch local and provincial councils that were former shareholders of Essent.

Researched and written 

by World Nuclear News