Czech regulator rejects second request from Areva to halt Temelin tender

By bne IntelliNews January 25, 2013

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The Czech competition office (UOHS) announced on January 24 that it has rejected a second request from France's Areva to halt the tender process being run by CEZ for a contractor on the extension of the Temelin nuclear power plant. Areva hinted it could consider taking legal action, as it awaits a more crucial decision from UOHS expected in the first week of February on whether it should be readmitted to the tender.

Areva, whose bid in the hotly contested tender, estimated to be worth CZK200bn-300bn (EUR8bn-12bn), was excluded by the Czech power giant in October for unconfirmed failures to meet the conditions, had made another application in a bid to stop the tender, Petr Rafaj, chairman of watchdog UOHS, told CTK, but the request has been rejected. "Proceedings related to the public order are still going on," he said.

CEZ said in December it will finish evaluation of the other offers - from a consortium led by Russian state agency Rosatom and US-Japanese company Westinghouse - at the end of February. It had originally planned to finish that process by the end of last year. It will then make its ranking of the offers public.

Following that, CEZ is due to discuss the bids with the suitors, and it has said it would like to make a decision by September and sign a contract with the winner by the end of 2013. Temelin's extension should be completed in 2025 at the latest. However, an injunction against signing a contract was issued by UOHS in November at the request of Areva, and is still in force.

Areva confirmed in a statement that it had made another appeal to the regulator against its ejection from the tender. "We can confirm that in early January, as part of the ongoing proceedings, Areva has again asked UOHS to issue a preliminary injunction to suspend the Temelin tender in addition to a prior injunction preventing CEZ to sign the contract, which is still in force," the company said. "It came as little surprise that UOHS again rejected Areva's request, as the office has in fact not looked into the situation... Given that, as confirmed by the UOHS chairman, the proceedings on the merits are still ongoing, Areva is considering further steps."

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