BUSINESS is so good at Urenco that it says it aims to take over as much as possible of the Capenhurst nuclear site to provide expansion room.
And its communications chief says this desire effectively rules out any chance of the former BNFL complex “next door” to the company being turned into one of the country’s planned new nuclear power plants.
The recent announcement by Ministers that private energy firms will be encouraged to build up to 10 power stations to relieve the country’s future dependence on conventional fuels has led to speculation Capenhurst might be earmarked as one of them.
This has already been ruled out by nuclear experts who say the site is totally unsuitable.
Now Urenco (Capenhurst) Ltd, which operates a major uranium enrichment facility on most of the site, has moved to officially damp down the speculation.
Its communications manager Neil Fagan said: “The information reported of a possible nuclear power plant build at Capenhurst site is inaccurate.
“The land currently owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is not large enough to house a next-generation nuclear power plant, and there is insufficient access to water locally needed to cool a large power reactor.”
In fact, he said his company had been in “constant negotiation” with the NDA and Sellafield Ltd, which is decommissioning the old BNFL plant, about taking over more of the site.
Mr Fagan explained: “As the decommissioning proceeds our aim is to add parcels of BNFL land to ours wherever possible. We would like to take it all if possible.
“Our global market is growing all the time and, with a 23-24% share, we are currently the market leader.
“Our customers are everywhere civil nuclear power plants are being built, in places such as Japan, the USA and the Far East.”
He added: “We presently own 65% of the site and if we are able to take over more land we would probably build new enrichment halls and dispatch buildings.
“The beauty of having been here at Capenhurst since the early 1970s is that everyone knows us, which makes it easy for us to operate.
“We know what the legislation is and we get an very well with our neighbours around the site through our liaison committees and our community involvement.”
Urenco Group employs 500 people locally and more than 2,000 worldwide.