Iberdrola calls on Simmons as Sellafield land rush hots up

Simmons & Simmons has won a key role advising Iberdrola on its bid for land at Sellafield, as the Spanish utility seeks to avoid being left out in the cold in the UK’s new civil nuclear ­energy race.

The firm would not comment on any involvement in the deal, but market sources confirmed that longstanding adviser ­Simmons had bagged an early role leading its client through the process.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is selling the 250-hectare plot adjoining the existing Sellafield site, where the UK first developed technology to build an atomic bomb in the 1950s, for an estimated £100m. Sites next to existing plants are particularly coveted because they are considered the most
A source said: “Sellafield is quite a distance away [in W

est Cumbria] and you’ve got to get electricity across the Lake District, so there’s a bit of a transmission issue involved But no site is ­perfect, every site has
its challenges. The NDA always said that it was going to market the site, so decided to strike while the iron was hot.”

Burges Salmon partners Ian Salter, in energy, and Paul Brown, in real estate, are understood to be ­advising the NDA.

Iberdrola lost out on recent purchases of plots of land adjacent to three existing nuclear plants at Bradwell in Essex, Oldbury in Gloucestershire
and Wylfa in Anglesey, which went for £387m in total (The Lawyer.com, 11 May).

CMS Cameron McKenna partner Charles Currier advised RWE Npower on its successful acquisition of 178 hectares of land at Wylfa and 48 hectares at Oldbury in a joint venture with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Andrew Hutchings’ client E.ON UK. Herbert Smith partner Mark ­Newbery advised EDF on its purchase of 200 hectares at Bradwell.