ENR, Reina, nuclear, U.K., EDF, Electricite de France, European Pressurized Reactor, EPR
British Energy PLC
British Energy’s nuclear plant site is slated for expansion.

Four new nuclear units will be constructed next to existing plants in the U.K. following the anticipated closing before the year’s end on the agreed acquisition of British Energy Group by EDF Group, Paris.

Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the $23.3-billion deal will put the U.K.’s eight operational nuclear powerplants under French government control. The U.K. government has agreed to sell its 36% of British Energy.

The acquisition is “a significant step towards the construction of a new generation of nuclear stations,” according to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a nuclear power champion.

Following the takeover, EDF plans to build four 1,600-MW reactors next to British Energy’s plants at Hinckley Point and Sizewell, to start operating within 10 years.

EDF is likely to buy the European Power Reactor, an evolutionary Generation III+ pressurized-water reactor developed by France’s AREVA, Paris. EDF is currently installing one 1,600-MW EPR at its Flamanville site in northern France. Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oy is constructing an EPR at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Plant and ground was broken last month in China for the first of two EPRs to be constructed in that country.

As part of the acquisition, EDF has agreed in principle to sell land at several of British Energy sites to rival nuclear operators, according to the U.K. government.

The U.K. energy company Centrica PLC, Windsor, is negotiating to acquire 25% of EDF-controlled British Energy. Centrica would take 25% of electricity generated by the plants, which would be operated solely by EDF.

British Energy owns all eight of the U.K.’s commercial nuclear plants, totalling 8,700 MW. EDF, France’s dominant generator, has 63,000 MW of nuclear capacity at 58 French reactors, representing 87% of the utility’s output.