Nuclear, Reactors

Power trio set to agree on joint UK nuclear bid

2 March 2007 – Eon and RWE are on the point of striking a deal with Westinghouse to work together on the UK’s next generation of nuclear power stations, according to a national newspaper report.

According to internal documents seen by The Business, the three companies are pushing to finalise an agreement before the publication of the Labour government’s energy white paper. This is expected either at the end of March or when the UK parliament returns from its Easter recess on 16 April.

The combined approach will be the first time all three power companies have come together to work on a project and is an indication of the role consortia could play in the construction of the next generation of power stations. As part of the agreement, the companies will submit a joint application for a licence for Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design, which will cost as much as £2bn ($3.9bn) each to build.

The deal could then be extended to include joint applications for a licence for a particular site and eventually stretch to constructing a new power plant in a consortium. The white paper is expected to trigger licence applications from the world’s leading nuclear power plant designers: France’s Areva, which designs the European pressurised reactor; Westinghouse; GE Energy; and Atomic Energy of Canada.

The talks between Westinghouse and the German companies are forging ahead despite last Friday’s shock victory for Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group, in its High Court battle against the Government’s nuclear plans.