The Joint Venture to develop new nuclear build at Sellafield, NW England, “NuGen,” has finally been established. Three companies – GDF Suez , Iberdrola and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) – teamed together to buy 190 ha (470 acres) land at Sellafield from the NDA in 2009. The consortium paid an upfront payment of GBP19.5 million, with a further payment of at least GBP50.5 million to follow in the next six years.

The consortium has now announced the JV NuGeneration Ltd (“NuGen”). Between them the consortium partners own and operate almost 10,000 MW of nuclear capacity across Spain, Belgium, Germany and France, and have more than 250,000 employees. The JV employs nearly 40,000 people in the UK developing and operating thermal and renewable power stations. It aims to develop up to 3.6GW of new nuclear power generation at Sellafield.

A new management team for NuGen has been drawn from all three of the consortium partners. The company will be headed by Executive Directors Olivier Carret (Chief Operating Director) and Alfio Vidal (Chief Nuclear Director).

Chief Operating Director Olivier Carret will have responsibility for all corporate and support services. Carret has over 30 years experience in the electricity and gas industry. He joined the consortium from GDF Suez, where he held various positions including Director of Operations and Director of Asset Management. Before joining GDF Suez in 2000, he spent six years in the US working on the development of international projects.

Olivier Carret said in a statement: “NuGen recognises that significant investments are required in the UK to deliver security of energy supply and the targeted reduction of CO2 emissions. Nuclear energy will be an important part of meeting these objectives. NuGen is committed to helping the UK achieve these goals, and expects to build a reputation for delivering the secure low carbon energy supply of the future, in a responsible and safe way.”

Alfio Vidal, Chief Nuclear Director has responsibility for all the technical and financial aspects of the project. Vidal was previously Head of Safety for Iberdrola’s Spanish nuclear fleet and is a former Plant Manager of Cofrentes NPP, a 1,092 MW nuclear plant near Valencia in Spain.

Vidal said in a statement, “NuGen’s greatest strength is that it can draw upon the experience, resources and skills of three well established and respected energy companies, that have experience of operating and delivering nuclear, and other generation plants, across Europe. We also hope to draw upon the expertise and knowledge that comes from the long tradition of nuclear power in West Cumbria. We will shortly be establishing a permanent base in the area, from where we expect to contribute to Cumbria’s “Energy Coast” vision and seek to develop strong and long term relationships with local communities in West Cumbria.”

The partnership between GDF Suez (37.5%), Iberdrola (37.5%) and Scottish and Southern Energy (25%) is the third new entrant to the UK nuclear industry after France’s EDF bought British Energy for £12.5bn at the end of 2008, and Horizon, a consortium of Germany’s RWE Npower and E.ON acquired land at Wylfa and Oldbury from the NDA land auctions in April 2009. The SSE/Iberdrola/GDF group bid in the NDA auctions for land at Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell, but withdrew as the price of land was bid up over six weeks raising £387m rather than the expected £100m.

The UK government draft National Policy Statement, (October 2010) included the land at Sellafield as one of eight suitable sites for a new nuclear power station. NuGen now intends to prepare detailed plans for developing the site. Plans will be submitted for planning consideration with the aim of a final investment decision being taken around 2015. NuGen says that it expects that any new power station would be commissioned around 2023. It has not yet decided between the Westinghouse AP1000 and the EPR as its reactor design of choice for the UK.