Czech finance minister Miroslav Kalousek said bids received in a tender for the expansion of Temelin nuclear power plant are disappointing. In an interview for Hospodarske Noviny daily, Kalousek raised doubt about the effectiveness of the investment project given the falling power prices. The cost of the project was made at significantly higher power prices than their current level, Kalousek was cited as saying.
US Westinghouse and a Czech-Russian consortium comprising Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress are bidding to build two more reactors at Temelin that will double the plant's capacity to 4,000 MW. State-owned power group CEZ, the operator of Temelin, completed in March the preliminary assessment of the bids without disclosing the ranking but Westinghouse said that it is holding the lead in the race. CEZ is now in talks with the two bidders to get improved offers. French Areva also filed a bid but CEZ disqualified it in October saying it did not meet legal and commercial conditions.
In a reaction to Kalousek’s statement, Prime Minister Petr Necas said on May 24 that a final decision on Temelin expansion will be based on long-term strategic goals, CTK news agency reported. Necas said that the Czech industrial sector, which accounts for 40% of the GDP and employment, will need new energy sources after coal-power plants with a total output 1,800 MW are likely to be closed under EU rules by 2025. Regarding the Temelin bids, Necas said he believes they are within the set range of CZK 200bn (EUR 7.6bn) to CZK 300bn but according to him they must be lowered.
CEZ wants to select the tender winner by September 2013 and have the two reactors running by 2025. Temelin's expansion deal is part of a new Czech long-term energy strategy that aims to increase the share of atomic power in the country's energy mix from 30% to 50% by 2030.
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