Land at Sellafield up for sale

08 June 2009

A 250 hectare site alongside Sellafield was put up for sale today in the latest UK nuclear new-build development. Three more potential site sales are to come.


Sellafield site for sale

The red line circles the 250 hectare site for sale, alongside the myriad buildings of Sellafield
The plot of land is enormous - comparable in size to the Sellafield complex itself. Its sale comes just weeks after the conclusion of another land auction and with three more land sales to come, a picture of the UK's new nuclear program is emerging.


It is the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), that is divesting the land. It was created to own and oversee the management and decommissioning of the 'legacy' nuclear sites from the British state's push into nuclear power that started in the 1950s.


The NDA has already sold some land alongside the Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell nuclear power plants, netting £387 million ($572 million). The NDA land at Wylfa was combined with some more owned by Electricité de France (EdF), but it is unknown how much that company benefited from the sale.


A consortium of EOn and RWE npower took the Wylfa and Oldbury land packages, while an EdF development company took the Bradwell land. A further consortium of GdF Suez, Iberdrola and Scottish & Southern were unable to get hold of a plot for new build in the last sale and were said to be upset at the price escalation.


The NDA will assess bidders and bids for the Sellafiled plot "on the basis of value for money on a disposal of public assets." The body said it "recognises the interest generated in its first phase land sale and looks forward to engaging with interested parties as it continues in its strategy of maximising value from its assets for the benefit of the UK taxpayer."


Planning plans: The UK situation in a nutshell


Two reactor designs are undergoing Generic Design Assessment (GDA): Areva's EPR and Westinghouse's AP1000. This is due to end in June 2011.
EdF plans to build two 1600 MWe EPRs at Sizewell C and a further two at Hinkley Point C. It will also own and operate British Energy's existing fleet. Centrica will own a 20% share of the BE business and will decide on participation in new-build on a case-by-case basis with the first decision coming in 2011.
EOn and RWE npower plan to build 6000 MWe of new capacity. They have land at Wylfa and Oldbury and options to buy two more portions of suitable land in Copeland. The pair will only decide between EPR and AP1000 once the GDA process is finished.
GdF Suez, Iberdrola and Scottish & Southern have an intention to build but have no sites and have made no technology decision.
Vattenfall has decided to put off any decisions on participating in the UK new-build market until mid-to-late 2010, when it expects the financial situation to be clearer.

In addition to the land the NDA is now selling alongside Sellafield, EdF Energy has started a process to sell development land at either Dungeness or Heysham, and will also sell land at Bradwell if it gains planning consent for two EPRS at Sizewell C.