France’s Areva files complaint with Czech court over exclusion from Temelin tender.

By bne IntelliNews September 23, 2013

France's Areva has filed a complaint with the Regional Court in Brno against its exclusion from a tender for expansion of Czech nuclear plant Temelin, CTK news agency reported citing the court’s spokeswoman Miroslava Sedlackova.

In October 2012 CEZ, which operates Temelin, disqualified Areva’s bid in the EUR 12bn tender saying it failed to meet requirements of the tender that envisages the construction of two more reactors at the plant. Areva filed a request with the Czech anti-monopoly body UOHS to suspend the tender but UOHS rejected the appeal. Areva is now asking the court to halt the tender.

The exclusion of Areva has left two bidders in the race - US Westinghouse and a Czech-Russian consortium comprising Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress. CEZ is no holding talks with the two bidders to sweeten their offers. It initially planned to select the winner by end-September but uncertainties in the future state energy strategy following the collapse of the centre-right government of Petr Necas in June forced the company to postpone the deadline and now it expects to make a decision on the project at end-2014 or in 2015.

Under CEZ’s initial plan, the size of the 2,000MW Temelin plant should be doubled with the new units, projected to start operations in 2025. This would be the biggest ever energy project in the central European country and its funding represents the biggest question facing the company. CEZ, majority owned by the state, has said it wants to secure a deal with the government about guaranteeing future prices for electricity generated by the new blocks so that the project proves profitable. It has not yet decided whether it will finance the project alone or will seek an investment partner.

The Temelin tender, which aims to boost the share of nuclear power in the Czech power mix to 50% by 2030, 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. The future of the project depends on the government that will be formed after the Oct 25-26 early elections likely to be won by the main centre-left Social Democrats (CSSD).

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