The new Czech government will not make a final decision on awarding a contract for expanding Temelin nuclear power plant, PM-designate Jiri Rusnok was cited as saying by Hospodarske Noviny daily.
Temelin operator CEZ, which is majority owned by the state, is due to pick the winner in the USD 10bn tender by September 2013 but the collapse of the centre-right government of Petr Necas earlier this month in the wake of a bribery and spying scandal and the appointment of an interim cabinet will likely delay the project.
In an interview for Hospodarske Noviny, Rusnok said the new government will get acquainted with the tender process but will not make a final decision as the interim government does not have the mandate to decide on it.
Czech President Milos Zeman appointed on June 25 Rusnok as the country’s new PM despite protests by the ongoing ruling coalition and the opposition. Rusnok government will have to win a vote of confidence in parliament to rule until scheduled general elections in May 2014 but all parties have said they will not back it. If Rusnok government fails in winning the confidence vote it will stay on as a caretaker cabinet until Zeman appoints another PM or early elections are held.
CEZ spokesperson Barbora Pulpanova told Bloomberg on June 28 that talks with bidders will enter the next stage this week and the energy group will make an announcement regarding the timetable for the tender.
US Westinghouse and a Czech-Russian consortium comprising Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress are bidding to build two more reactors at Temelin aimed at doubling the plant’s capacity to 4,000MW. CEZ wants to select the tender winner by September 2013 and have the two reactors running by 2025. The deal is closely followed by nuclear equipment suppliers that were hit by decreasing power prices and weakening interest in atomic energy since Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.
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