Saturday, 05 September 2015

Cumbria nuclear site ‘sell off’

LAND earmarked for a new nuclear plant may be auctioned off due to government frustration with a lack of progress on the project, it has been claimed.

The site near Sellafield is owned by nuclear consortium NuGen, a collaboration between France’s GDF Suez and Spanish company Iberdrola.

NuGen signed an option agreement with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to build on the site in 2009, naming the project Moorside.

The consortium plans to build up to 3.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity at Moorside although deadlines for work to commence, agreed with the NDA, have remained confidential.

After speaking to anonymous sources within the industry, Reuters press agency reported the government is considering auctioning the site to breathe new life into the project as it pushes through an ambitious nuclear new-build programme – needed to replace ageing reactors.

A spokesman from NuGen said the company would make no comment but said the group was committed to continuing with the plans.

He told the Evening Mail: “We purchased the option and we are taking that forward to build a nuclear power station. There is momentum in the project.”

A spokesman from the NDA said he could not comment.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “These are only rumours. NuGen has repeatedly committed itself to the area and the site. This site must be developed, our community needs it, our environment needs it, our economy needs it and so does the country.”

NuGen paid £19.5m for the option and agreed to pay another £50.5m over six years, or more than £8m a year, the 2009 agreement showed.

In 2011 the government shortlisted eight sites around the country as suitable to build new nuclear power plants, including the Moorside site.

Reports have also emerged that Iberdrola is in talks with Toshiba-owned company Westinghouse to sell its 50 per cent share in NuGen.

The anonymous source said the negotiations were “not a done deal” but rumours suggest Westinghouse are also interested in GDF Suez’s stake in NuGen. A spokesman from Toshiba said “nothing had been decided.”

Have your say

Sorry, I meant Solway Firth of course !

Posted by JohnH on 1 October 2013 at 12:57

If the government genuinely support a 'green' energy policy, then they should encourage barrage schemes in the Solway Bay and Morecambe Bay areas ! The notion that nuclear new builds will take place without massive infrastructure investment is a no hoper!

Posted by JohnH on 30 September 2013 at 20:38

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