UPDATE 2-UK launches sale of uranium enrichment firm Urenco

Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:35am EDT
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* Process to last months due to non-proliferation concerns

* Cameco, Areva, Westinghouse, Canadian fund cited as buyers

* Urenco value seen at up to 10 bln euros

LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) - The British government said on Monday it would sell some or all of its 33 percent stake in Urenco, the world's second-largest vendor of nuclear fuel.

Three countries hold equal stakes in the security-sensitive uranium enrichment concern - Britain, the Netherlands and Germany, whose share is held by utilities E.ON and RWE.

Urenco is estimated to be worth up to 10 billion euros ($13 billion) and several buyers have been reported to be ready to bid for a stake.

These include French nuclear group Areva, Canadian uranium miner Cameco Corp, reactor builder Westinghouse's Japanese parent Toshiba, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, which set up Urenco more than 40 years ago, have a duty to ensure secret technology that could be used to make an atomic bomb does not fall into the wrong hands.

"The decision to proceed towards a sale comes after the government secured agreement from its Dutch and German partners," Britain's business ministry said in a statement.   Continued...