Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower, has announced initial work will start shortly on preparatory design studies for its proposed new power station in North Wales.
The company has signed contracts for preliminary work to be carried out between now and the end of the year with Areva and a consortium formed by Westinghouse Electric Company, known as Nuclear Power Delivery UK.
Nuclear Power Delivery UK is a team also comprising Laing O'Rourke, The Shaw Group and Toshiba.
The two organisations' designs are being assessed for new UK nuclear reactor licences.
Rita Bowser, managing director of Nuclear Power Delivery UK, said: "This is a welcome demonstration from Horizon that they are progressing the option for building new nuclear plants in the UK, starting at Wylfa in North Wales. We are working closely with Horizon to ensure we make them the best possible proposal in terms of the AP1000 design, and we are preparing for success so that we are well positioned to move quickly if we are selected as their preferred choice around the end of 2010."
"Today's announcement of the Early Works Agreement with our team is a very positive sign of Horizon's determination to make sure that they are able to secure an attractive bid from us while maintaining their timeline. We believe that the AP1000 design offers a very attractive combination of features for Horizon's proposed development, and that the construction experience of the AP1000 plants which are currently being built on schedule in China, and will also be built in the US, will be invaluable in providing confidence that future UK plants can be built on time and to budget."
In March, Horizon Nuclear Power said that it would build its first reactor at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey given the right market conditions and subject to a final investment decision. It said it would select a preferred vendor around the end of the year and aims to be generating power by 2020.
Alan Raymant, from Horizon, said: "We are already working with both companies in a formal procurement process regarding our preferred vendor. Progressing with some studies now, for both designs, will support our planning and licensing process by allowing us to develop the site specific designs, and make us a more informed buyer. "This will help deliver the best solution for Wylfa specifically and underpin our confidence in the build programme. It will also drive more competitive bids which ultimately will be good for the consumer, keeping the price of energy down."
Horizon Nuclear Power is a UK energy company developing a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Horizon plans to deliver around 6,000 mega watt of new nuclear power station capacity in the UK by 2025. Horizon said the programme is likely to involve more than £15bn of investment.