Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Nuclear power site land is sold

Cumbria's existing nuclear plant at Sellafield is being decommissioned

A sale of land adjoining the former Sellafield nuclear power station has brought plans for a new plant nearer.

A consortium is to pay about £70m for 470 acres of Cumbrian farmland in preparation for a new nuclear plant if the government gives the go-ahead.

The group is paying £17m upfront and plans to apply for planning approval, pending a government decision.

An announcement will be made within a few weeks about possible sites for the next generation of nuclear plants.

Energy companies were invited by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to register interest in buying land adjoining the Sellafield complex.

The successful consortium comprises Iberdrola S.A, GdF Suez S.A and Scottish & Southern Energy plc.

'Significant milestone'

It follows the sale in April of land adjacent to three other nuclear sites which raised about £387m for the NDA to use in its decommissioning programme.

John Clarke, NDA commercial director, said: "The sale of this land is a significant milestone in our asset disposal programme and follows on from the successful sale of land at three of our sites earlier this year.

"The £450m generated from these sales will be utilised to support the NDA's clean-up mission and is good news for the UK taxpayer."

The sale has been welcomed by the local authorities and representatives of commerce.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency, said: "For over 60 years the Northwest has been widely recognised as the UK's premier location for nuclear infrastructure and is home to 50% of the UK's civil nuclear workforce.

"A new nuclear power station will ensure Cumbria continues to play an important role within the UK's future energy mix."

Councillor Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for economic development, said: "It will create and sustain thousands of highly skilled jobs and attract a massive amount of money, making west Cumbria one of the most cutting-edge and desirable places anywhere in the country in which to work, live and invest."

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