November 29, 2010 / 12:28 PM / 8 years ago

GDF, Iberdrola, SSE link up for UK nuclear

* NuGen consortium to make investment decision around 2015

* First new nuclear plant to commission around 2023

* Group’s reactor design choice a while away - SSE

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - A third consortium planning to build new nuclear power plants in Britain and which groups a French, a Spanish and a British utility was was formally founded on Monday, the companies said.

France’s GDF Suez GSZ.PA, Spain’s Iberdrola (IBE.MC) and Britain’s Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE.L) will make a final investment decision as to whether to build 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear power generation in the UK around 2015.

The NuGeneration consortium plans to commission its first new nuclear reactor around eight years later. [ID:nLDE6A910W]

Reactor designs from France’s Areva CEPFi.PA and Toshiba-owned Westinghouse (6502.T) are being tested by Britain’s nuclear watchdog. It is expected to announce whether the designs are safe to build in Britain in June next year.

The consortium will decide which type of nuclear reactor design it will choose ahead of the investment decision in 2015, a spokesman for SSE said.

“At the moment we are completely technology neutral. We’re aware of both technologies, but at this stage we haven’t formed an opinion as to which one we will choose. Realistically it’s going to be some time yet,” the spokesman said.

“We will look and decide which one is best given what other people are learning but also what’s best for the site itself.”

The NuGen consortium purchased a site near Sellafield in Cumbria in October last year, which was shortlisted by the British government as a potential new nuclear site last month. [ID:nLDE69H22P]

Iberdrola’s former Head of Safety, Alfio Vidal, will lead the group as Executive Director together with Olivier Carret, previously Director of Operations at GDF Suez.

“NuGen’s greatest strength is that it can draw upon the experience, resources and skills of three well established and respected energy companies that have experience of operating and delivering nuclear, and other generation plants, across Europe,” Vidal said.

The three-way consortium was established at the beginning of 2009, with GDF Suez and Iberdrola both holding 37.5 percent of shares and SSE owning 25 percent.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps

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