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General licence applications by Axpo and BKW: Atel welcomes new impetus for energy security

Following Atel's submission in June 2008 of an application to the Federal Office of Energy (FOE) for a general licence to build a new nuclear power station, two additional applications have now been submitted by Axpo and BKW for the Beznau and Mühleberg sites. Atel welcomes this move as an important contribution towards concerted efforts to ensure Switzerland's energy security. With three projects to choose from, there is a good chance that two new nuclear power stations will be built in good time. Atel therefore intends to further pursue and drive forward its own nuclear power station project in Niederamt, Solothurn.

Following Atel Holding Ltd's application to the Federal Office of Energy (FOE) in June 2008 for a general licence for a new nuclear power plant, BKW and Axpo have submitted their own applications. Atel welcomes this move as an important contribution to ensuring Switzerland's energy security.

FOE now examining three equivalent projects In the interests of long-term energy security in Switzerland, new production capacities are needed. In terms of location, the existing sites are best suited. The applications by Axpo and BKW, coupled with Atel's application six months ago, have now provided the FOE with three equivalent projects to examine. Public opinion-building and the official general licence procedures will show which two projects best meet the technical and political requirements for a new nuclear power station. Swiss voters will have the final say.

Niederamt in Solothurn is an ideal location in every way Atel believes that Niederamt is the ideal location, both from a technical and a political standpoint. The spatial dimensions, grid connectivity and cooling conditions are just as favourable for the project as the positive decades-long cooperation with the local authorities and population. The project has the backing of the canton of Solothurn parliament and government. It therefore meets all the requisite requirements for the rapid construction and safe operation of a new nuclear power station.

New nuclear power stations are partner plants New nuclear power stations are major projects of national importance. As such, they require broad-based support and must, wherever possible – irrespective of the location – be built and operated as partner plants. Negotiations with Axpo and BKW are under way regarding the form of cooperation and mutual participation in the Niederamt nuclear power station project. However, they are under no time pressure. Atel is also open to the possibility of third-party participation and is holding talks with this in mind.

Atel and EOS supply electricity to one third of Switzerland Following the merger which is scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2009, Atel and EOS together with their shareholders and partners will supply electricity to roughly one third of the Swiss population, in particular in north-western, French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland. As a way of supplementing hydroelectricity and other types of renewable energies, nuclear power is indispensable in the bid to ensure adequate, cost-effective and climate-friendly supplies of electricity in Switzerland.

Priority on climate-friendly energy generation The emerging gap between electricity supply and demand identified by the Federal Council and the electricity sector will result in a need for up to 3200 MW of new electrical base load energy by 2030. In accordance with its decision in principle on energy policy, dated 21 February 2007, the Federal Council therefore regards "the replacement of existing nuclear power stations or the construction of new ones as essential". The climate issue is a political priority and excludes the fossil-fired generation of large volumes of electricity over the long term. Due to the lengthy, three-phase permit procedure for new nuclear power stations, however, individual gas-fired combined-cycle power stations must still be considered as a transitional solution.

Atel Holding Ltd