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E.ON CEO says no new UK nuclear plants before 2018

BARCELONA, June 17 (Reuters) - E.ON EONG.DE chief executive Wulf Bernotat on Tuesday reiterated the German utility's interest in building nuclear power stations in Britain, but said it would take at least 10 years before they could start operating.

The British government wants utilities to build new nuclear power stations, which emit almost no climate-harming carbon dioxide, to replace the UK’s ageing reactors and secure its future power supply.

“Of course we are interested as a company in building power stations in the UK,” Bernotat said on the sidelines of the annual convention European power producers’ group Eurelectric.

“Our view is that it would take at least until 2018, possibly a bit later, so 2019-20 is probably right,” he said at the event in Barcelona.

Bernotat said each new nuclear power plant would cost 4.0-4.5 billion euros ($6.20-6.98 billion) to build and that his company could do it without financial help.

“This is the sort of investment we can shoulder as a company, we are decisive we can finance it ourselves. We don’t think a partner is necessary,” he said.

Britain's decision to encorage building the country's first new nuclear power plants in decades has triggered a fierce bidding war for 11 billion pound ($21.64 billion) nuclear operator British Energy BGY.L, which runs eight active stations on sites also seen as prime candidates for new build.

France's EDF EDF.PA is seen as the front runner for British Energy, while E.ON said in April it was keeping its options open regarding a bid. (Reporting by Martin Roberts; editing by Daniel Fineren)

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