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EDF begins nuclear land sale process at Heysham

John Freeman
EDF Energy has begun a sales process relating to the divestment of land potentially suitable for new nuclear build at Heysham and Dungeness in Kent.

The process will result in EDF Energy selling one site, at Dungeness or Heysham, which were acquired as a result of EDF Energy's integration with British Energy in January.

The sale will allow EDF to deliver on a commitment it made to the European Commission as part of the acquisition of British Energy, which is also in line with the policy of the UK Government to have more than one developer of new nuclear power plants in the UK.

In the first stage of the sale process, advertised in the Financial Times today, EDF Energy will invite credible nuclear operators to come forward with expressions of interest in the sites.

“We believe these sites have good potential for new build and will be attractive to potential developers of nuclear power plants," argues Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Managing Director Nuclear New Build. "This is an important step towards Government’s objective of competition in new nuclear build in the UK. It goes hand in hand with our own plans to build and operate four EPRs in the UK with the first operational by the end of 2017 as we seek to help address the country’s long-term energy issues.”

The land will only be sold to a credible nuclear operator, that being defined as an organisation that currently operates a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world and operates an electricity generating station subject to UK regulations, or is committed to doing so. The decision on which of the two sites will be sold will be a matter for the successful bidder. The purchaser will be allowed to carry out further investigations before reaching a decision.

The sale does not affect the operational power stations at Heysham and Dungeness which will continue to be operated by British Energy (part of EDF Energy).

The combination of EDF Energy and British Energy in January formed one of the UK’s largest energy companies and the UK’s largest producer of electricity. With a current installed capacity of around 16.5GW, EDF, which employs some 20,000 people nationwide -- 1500 at Heysham, putting £50million in wages annually into the local economy -- and produces almost one-quarter of the nation's electricity from its nuclear, coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms.

In total, the company says it provides power to a quarter of the UK’s population via our electricity distribution networks in London, the South East and the East of England and supply gas and electricity to over 5.5 million business and residential customers.