Sources say UK set to auction three nuclear sites

LONDON (Reuters) - The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is preparing to auction off three of its biggest plots of lands for potential new nuclear power stations, an industry source said on Monday.

The NDA, which has made land surrounding 18 current or former nuclear power stations available for potential bidders, said in April it had received interest from over 30 parties, including some of Europe’s biggest utilities.

The source told Reuters on Monday the NDA would select the three sites that had proven most popular among the potential buyers and then decide on the nature of a sale process.

“There were three sites that attracted the most interest,” the source said, adding an announcement was likely to be made about the auction in the next month.

He could not say where the sites were but a separate industry source said Wylfa in north Wales was likely to top the list, due to the amount of land available and political sensitivities surrounding employment in the area.

The source added that sites in Scotland -- at Hunterston in the west and Dounreay in the north -- could also have enough land to build new sites.

The NDA’s site auction is the lower profile of a two-pronged government push to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. The other is the sale of 35 percent state-owned British Energy, which could be sold to French group EDF within the week for 11 billion pounds.

Germany’s RWE and U.S. group Energy Solutions are among those to have expressed an interest. EDF -- the only company to have lodged a bid for British Energy -- has already bought land next to two British nuclear plants.

The NDA, which declined to comment on the auction, was set up three years ago to manage the decommissioning and clean-up of Britain’s existing nuclear power stations.


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