Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Energy giants join up on nuclear

Power lines
The two retail power rivals will work together in nuclear generation

Iberdrola, the owner of Scottish Power, has agreed to join forces with Scottish and Southern Energy to participate in the UK's nuclear new build programme.

The joint venture's initial aim is to secure sites suitable for nuclear power stations.

Both Iberdrola and SSE may consider adding partners to the venture in the future.

The companies said nuclear technology was important to secure electricity supply and reduce CO2 emissions.

Pedro Azagra, Iberdrola's director of development, said: "Iberdrola is committed to the UK market, and welcomes the UK's plans to develop new nuclear power plants for low-carbon energy supply."

Alistair Phillips-Davies SSE's energy supply director, said: "We accept that one more tranche of nuclear power stations is necessary for the UK's energy policy goals from around the end of the next decade.

"We also recognise that we will have to continue to be able to source power generated from nuclear stations if we are to be able to meet our customers' energy needs in the long term.

"Our decision to participate in this venture is consistent with both of these points, and our long-standing willingness to work with other parties in this area, and complements our core investment strategy in renewables."

While each partner brings high quality relationships with equipment suppliers, the joint venture will not be bound to any single vendor for new nuclear development, and will be able to make use of the best available technology for each element of the nuclear new-build programme.

Iberdrola has interests in seven nuclear power plants in Spain, while its subsidiary Scottish Power and SSE, formerly known as Scottish Hydro, are the main customer power supply companies in Scotland.

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