September 7, 2010 / 9:09 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Dutch provinces plan new nuclear plant

* Plans compete with existing one from utility Delta

* Second plant could end up in RWE’s hands

* Follows German extension of nuke plant lifespans

(Adds ERH comments)

By Aaron Gray-Block and Greg Roumeliotis

AMSTERDAM, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Dutch provinces said on Tuesday they would lodge an application for the construction of a second nuclear power plant in the Netherlands, pitting them against Dutch utility Delta which has similar plans.

Delta, which owns half of the sole Dutch operating nuclear power plant, Borssele 1, lodged in June 2009 initial plans to build a second nuclear plant with four times the capacity of the first. It is looking for a partner to help develop the project.

But six Dutch provinces and various city councils which sold their stake in Dutch utility Essent to Germany’s RWE (RWEG.DE) in 2009, will also lodge a plan for a new nuclear plant in Borssele through their company, Energy Resources Holding (ERH).

Borssele is a town in the southwest of the Netherlands, in the Zeeland province, some 12 km east of Vlissingen and relatively close to Rotterdam and Antwerp.

ERH also has a 50 percent interest in Borssele 1. RWE is currently locked in a legal battle with Delta after an appeals court upheld a ruling in March that it cannot acquire that stake from ERH as it must stay in public hands. [ID:nLDE6210Y1]

“We had held talks with Delta about developing Borssele 2 together but the utility pulled out of those discussions after RWE came into the frame in 2009,” ERH spokesman Hans Huigen said.

“If all goes well, the shareholders of ERH would be interested in selling the rights to Borssele 2 to RWE, although we haven’t had talks with them about that. It is likely that they would be interested, as would other parties.”

The submission will detail plans to construct a nuclear power plant with a maximum capacity of 2,500 megawatts, almost five times the capacity of Borssele 1. ERH hopes to obtain all necessary permits by 2014 and start up the plant in 2019.

Dutch authorities have phased out all nuclear power stations except for Borssele, due to stay operational until 2033, but have not ruled out allowing a new plant. Huigen acknowledged that the decision to approve Borssele 2 would be political.

Delta and Essent jointly operated the Borssele nuclear power plant, but Essent said in September that RWE had agreed to pay 950 million euros ($1.22 billion) less for the acquisition to exclude the plant.

The German government said on Sunday it was planning to extend the lives of the nation’s 17 nuclear power reactors, giving each reactor an average extension of about 12 years. [ID:nLDE6840EZ] (Editing by James Jukwey)

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