Iberdrola on for slice of nuclear cake

Ignacio Sanchez Galan, chairman of Spanish power company Iberdrola, speaks during the presentation of company's annual results in Madrid February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish power utility Iberdrola IBE.MC will feature in the UK's plans to develop its nuclear power and expects news on a possible reactor site shortly, Chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan said on Monday.

Iberdrola expects another European company to join its nuclear consortium with France's GDF Suez GSZ.PA and Scottish & Southern Energy SSE.L, which has received a reactor site offer from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, or NDA.

“They (the NDA) have proposed us a site and we hope to have further news about this in the next few days,” Galan told reporters at Spain’s senate.

“We will probably be joined by another European company and become in some form or other the third nuclear power group operating in the United Kingdom,” he said.

Swedish utility Vattenfall is said to be interested in participating in the development of Britain’s nuclear energy industry.

The Iberdrola, GDF Suez Scottish & Southern consortium dropped out of an NDA auction of nuclear power sites in April after being outbid by other European utilities.

However, the Iberdrola consortium is still seeking to expand in the UK and said last week it is in talks with EDF EDF.PA about buying a reactor site in the country.

The government wants private companies to build enough new plants to replace the country’s old state-built reactors, most of which will be shut over the next 10 years, and European power groups have offered millions of euros to do so.

Reporting by Jonathan Gleave, Editing by Dan Grebler