German giants to build UK reactors

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - German energy giants Eon and RWE have decided to team up to build nuclear power plants in Britain, promising to invest around $25 billion in the endeavor.

The new company Horizon Nuclear Power headquartered near Gloucester will start operations on November 16, the companies said in a joint statement. The joint venture is held to 50 percent by Eon UK, with RWE npower owning the other half.

The companies plan to invest some $25 billion into new nuclear power plants in Britain, the first of which is scheduled to go online by 2020, the statement said.

Some 6,000 MW worth of generation capacities will be installed at Wylfa on the Welsh island of Anglesey and at Oldbury, in Gloucestershire, where the companies acquired land earlier this year.

"Nuclear energy will form a key part of Britain's low carbon future, and Horizon Nuclear Power will play a key role in delivering new nuclear stations," the companies' statement said.

Up to 5,000 workers would be needed at each of the construction sites. Some 800 workers will be permanently employed by each of the stations, with significant additional potential for job growth at supplier firms, Eon and RWE said. They plan to select equipment suppliers next year as early as possible.

With the new joint venture, the companies are joining EDF leading Britain's nuclear revival. The French utility, which runs 58 nuclear power plants in France that satisfy around 80 percent of the French electricity demand, has previously announced it would build four nuclear power plants in Britain, with each expected to cost between $7 billion and $8 billion.

Dusseldorf-based Eon is one of the major public utilities in Europe and the world's largest private energy company. It employs more than 90,000 people. Essen-based RWE employs 65,000 people and is Germany's second-largest energy company.

Britain wants new nuclear reactors to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security as domestic fossil fuel resources are depleting.


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