Head of Czech competition watchdog rejects Areva’s appeal in Temelin n-plant tender.

By bne IntelliNews July 26, 2013

The head of the Czech anti-monopoly office UOHS, Petr Rafaj, has turned down an appeal by France’s Areva against its exclusion from a USD 10bn tender for expansion of Temelin nuclear power plant, CTK news agency reported. Rafaj’s decision confirmed UOHS' first-instance ruling issued in February.

State-owned CEZ, the Czech Republic’s largest energy producer and operator of Temelin, excluded in October 2012 Areva from the tender that envisages the construction of two more reactors at the plant saying the bid of the French company failed to meet legal and commercial conditions of the tender. Areva still can appeal the decision at the Regional Court in Brno.

Areva’s exclusion from the tender left US Westinghouse and a Czech-Russian consortium comprising Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress in the race. CEZ is now holding talks with the two bidders and said that it will delay the selection of the winning candidate by at least 12 to 18 months. Initially CEZ planned to announce the winner by end-September 2013. As reasons for the delay CEZ cited uncertainties in the future state energy strategy following the collapse of the centre-right government of Petr Necas in June and the appointment of an interim cabinet.

Temelin now has two reactors of 1,000MW each and the construction of two more will double the plant’s capacity. The new units are projected to become operational in 2025. This would be the biggest ever energy project in the central European country. But CEZ 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.

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.

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