EDF Energy launches UK site sale

08 May 2009

EDF Energy has started the process to sell land suitable for a new nuclear power plant at either Dungeness or Heysham. The sale is a condition imposed on the company as part of its January 2009 acquisition of British Energy.

In the first stage of a process that will ultimately result in the sale of land at one of the two sites, EDF Energy is inviting "credible nuclear operators" to come forward with expressions of interest. The decision over which of the sites will be sold will be a matter for the successful bidder.

Dungeness (Image: British Energy Group plc)
 New neighbour for Dungeness?
(Image: British Energy Group plc)
The sale does not affect the operational power stations at the site. The two British-designed advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) at Dungeness are scheduled to operate until 2018, while the Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 stations, each with two AGRs, are currently scheduled for decommissioning in 2014 and 2023 respectively.

European Commission approval of Electricité de France's (EDF's) acquisition of UK nuclear operator British Energy included a requirement that it sell the land, and the company says it is now delivering on its commitment to the commission and also complying with UK government policy of having more than one developer of new nuclear power in the country. EDF-owned land adjacent to the Wylfa nuclear power station was sold off in the recent auction of land by the country's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which also saw EDF acquire a tranche of land at Bradwell, although the company's favoured sites for new build are at Hinkley Point and Sizewell.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy's managing director for nuclear new build, said the Heysham and Dungeness sites would be attractive to potential nuclear power plant developers. "This is an important step towards government's objective of competition in new nuclear build in the UK. It goes hand in hand with our own plans to build and operate four EPRs in the UK with the first operational by the end of 2017 as we seek to help address the country’s long-term energy issues," he said.