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Upgrades to the Electricity Networks

National Grid management has said that it will cost from 0.85 billion to 1.4 billion to upgrade Britain's electriciy network if a new batch of nuclear power stations is built.

New nuclear stations are likely to be built on existing sites where there is existing infrastructure and where planning permissions will be easier to obtain. The National grid Director, Nick Winser, explained that because the new reactors, if deployed, would be larger than the old ones, current transmission cables would not be heavy duty enough to cope with the current.

National Grid's estimates are based on new nuclear plants ranging from 1100 MW to 3200 MW. The largest plant today provides 1250 MW.

British electricity demand is about 65,000 MW.

National Grid would have to pay for most of the extra investment because it owns the transmission networks in England and Wales.

These alterations are unlikely to be made until 2012.

National grid and the two Scottish companies (Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy) are in discussions with Ofgem about the transmission networks over the 5 years to 2012, to ensure new renewable and gas import projects can be connected.

Ofgem has proposed investment be almost doubled to a maximum of 5 billiion for the 5 years to 2012. The transmission companies want 6.7 billion. Ofgem is sceptical that quite so many electricity and gas projects will need to be connected and thinks money can be saved.

ND. (13 Jul 06)

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