Nuclear blow as Areva fails to bid for site

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BRITISH nuclear power project Horizon has attracted just two bidders, after Areva and China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGNP) dropped their joint approach, a source said yesterday.

Offers rolled in on Friday for Horizon, which was put up for sale by RWE and E.ON in March.

But Areva confirmed yesterday that it and CGNP did not submit a bid, and that they have “suspended their interest”.

Areva was in the running to build parts of the plants for previous owners RWE and E.ON, before they pulled out, blaming spiralling costs.

Areva then made a play for the entire project, revealing in June that it would team up with CGNP to bid.

Two bids were submitted for Horizon on Friday – one from Areva’s competitor Westinghouse and its parent company Toshiba, the other from Japanese engineer Hitachi and Canadian counterparty SNC-Lavalin, an industry source said.

Horizon encompasses sites in Anglesey and Gloucester that are earmarked for six new nuclear reactors, with an estimated development cost of £15bn.

The project was set up in 2009 with the aim of adding up to 6.6 gigawatts of power to the UK’s ageing energy network.

But overshadowed by last year’s Fukushima disaster and Germany’s subsequent withdrawal from the sector, nuclear firms have struggled to retrench.

It was reported at the weekend that Spain’s Iberdrola, battling to rein in its debts, could walk away from the NuGen nuclear project at Sellafield, Cumbria.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change expects the nuclear industry to develop around 16 gigawatts of new capacity by 2025.

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