Horizon clear for EOn, RWE joint venture

06 November 2009

The UK joint venture between European utilities EOn and RWE will begin operating later this month under the name Horizon Nuclear Power. The 50:50 joint venture aims to develop around 6000 MWe of new nuclear capacity in the UK by 2025.


Wylfa (BNG)

Wylfa, where EOn and RWE have bought land on which to build

Whilst announcing further details of the joint venture, RWE npower and EOn UK said that Horizon Nuclear Power's programme of new nuclear power plants could involve more than £15 billion ($25 billion) in investment and create some 11,000 jobs, including about 800 permanent jobs at each plant site and up to 10,000 during construction.


The joint venture will begin operating on 16 November from new headquarters near Gloucester. Earlier this year, EOn and RWE secured development land at the existing Wylfa nuclear power plant site on Anglesey and at the Oldbury site in Gloucestershire.


Horizon Nuclear Power has yet to decide on which reactor technology it will use in the plants it intends to construct. However, in a statement EOn and RWE said that it is "progressing its competitive tender process with Areva and Westinghouse for the selection of a reactor technology."


Chief Operating Officer Alan Raymant said: "Choosing our reactor supplier is a significant milestone and the technical and commercial evaluation of our options is well underway." He added, "A team of nuclear experts from across RWE and EOn has been put in place to support this process, with the aim of selecting a preferred supplier for exclusive negotiation early in the new year."


However, EOn signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Siemens and Areva to build the latter's 1600 MWe EPR design in April 2008 and it has gone on to secure a grid connection agreement for exactly 1600 MWe at Oldbury B. Meanwhile, RWE has secured agreements for three 1200 MWe connections at Wylfa C. This matches the output of Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor.


Horizon Nuclear Power intends to establish local offices close to its development sites. Raymant said: "We've met a lot of local people and groups around our sites at Oldbury and Wylfa and we'll maintain an open, no-surprises approach. Technical investigations are progressing well and we'll shortly be engaging further with local organizations and the public on the detailed studies required to prepare consent applications."


EOn and RWE have interests in 23 nuclear power reactors in Germany and Sweden, including two jointly-owned reactors at the Gundremmingen plant and one at the Lingen plant, both in Germany.