Merryn's Blog

Don't lose out in Gordon's nuclear fire sale

It's been ten years since Gordon Brown flogged the Bank of England's gold. And still he hasn't learned his lesson. This week Gordon went fire sale crazy all over again by selling off the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority - one of the few useful arms the government had left.

It's been ten years since Gordon Brown flogged the Bank of England's gold. And still he hasn't learned his lesson. This week Gordon went fire sale crazy all over again by selling off the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority - one of the few useful arms the government had left.

The UKAEA is in the business of nuclear decommissioning - a thriving industry in the UK. Over the next 15 years, Britain plans to shut down all but one of the ten existing nuclear power plants that keep the country's lights on. The big nuclear operators will rely on decommissioning groups to wind down their aged reactors and dispose of the waste they keep on site. There is an £80bn market in cleaning up British reactors alone, says Jeremy Lemer in the FT.

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Nuclear groups have been clamouring to get a piece of the action. Babcock International had to fight off rival bids from Amec and US-based Babcock & Wilcox (no relation) to secure the company. The £50m price tag "was towards the top end of market estimates", according to Lemer.

But this is only the latest in a long-term government project to sell off nuclear assets. Westinghouse, the engineer, was sold to Toshiba for £2.9bn in 2006. And British Energy was bought by EDF fro £12.5bn last year.

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But don't get too angry. Because you can get in on the nuclear decommissioning game yourself. Aim-listed Redhall Group (RHL) is a leading specialist in nuclear decommissioning. It saw a 63% surge in first half profits and is yet to use a £18m bank facility it secured earlier in the year. Redhall is up 32% since we tipped it in January - but is a good bet on Britain's 'nuclear renaissance'.

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