NDA and France's EDF begin nuclear land sale

LONDON (Reuters) - The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and French nuclear energy giant EDF have begun to sell land next to three nuclear power stations that could be used to build new ones, the NDA said on Wednesday.

The NDA, the public body managing the sale, has asked for expressions of interest from potential bidders for land next to the Wylfa nuclear power station in Anglesey, Bradwell in Essex and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

The auction is expected to be held early next year, subject to the unconditional approval of EDF’s takeover of nuclear power plant operator British Energy

EDF, which is likely to spearhead the nuclear new build programme in Britain, bought land next to Wylfa earlier this year but has since said it would rather build at two British Energy sites.

The government hopes other European utilities will buy the land and build the reactors Britain needs to replace its ageing fleet of nuclear power plants.

“We’ve been clear that we want to see more than one new nuclear operator in the UK and this sale has the potential to make that a reality,” a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.

“The land on offer will be highly attractive to power companies interested in new build, alongside separate plans from EDF for four reactors on British Energy sites.”

Oldbury is due to close next month, while Wylfa in Wales is due to close in March 2010 and Bradwell is already being dismantled.

In all, there is about 426 hectares (1,050 acres) of land up for auction.

Reporting by Daniel Fineren, Editing by Peter Blackburn