ČEZ to weigh up partner for Temelín expansion

Czech electricity giant ČEZ says willing to test whether partner could be brought on board to help build two new reactors at Temelín

Jaderná elektrárna Temelín. foto: © ILUSTRAČeská pozice

Jaderná elektrárna Temelín.

Czech electricity company ČEZ says it is investigating whether a strategic partner can be found to help it build two new nuclear reactors at its existing Temelín site.

“Energy company ČEZ within the framework of its preparations for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant is checking out the possibility of the entry of a strategic partner,” the near 70 percent state-owned company announced on Wednesday.

“The building and following operation of nuclear projects by a consortium of several companies is quite common in Europe, the large French company EdF is constructing the Flamanville [plant] together with ENEL,” it added in reference to French and Italian electricity giants.

ČEZ said it had been sounded out by possible partners and if a partnership appears to be the logical step to take will select an eventual partner through a transparent tender. The partner would be brought on board following the signature of a deal with one  three major nuclear power plant construction groups in the running to land the Temelín contract, it added.

A decision on whether France’s Areva, US-based Westinghouse or a consortium of Russia’s Atomstrojexport and Czech engineering company Škoda JS win the estimated Kč 150 billion–Kč 200 billion tender should be decided by the end of 2013.

ČEZ has said that it could finance the expansion of Temelín from its own resources and with the help of bank loans — but has admitted that this would be a squeeze and that other inviting investment opportunities would have to be sacrificed as a result. With a partner on board these could be followed up as well, company CEO Daniel Beneš said.

“Another motivating factor is the possible sharing out of the construction risk and the profits from the project among several subjects. Most nuclear projects in Europe (France, Finland and Britain) are precisely for this reason realized at the current time on the basis of  different types of partnership,” he added.

ČEZ said that initial analysis suggested that around more than 10 energy companies, mostly European, could be sounded out about their willingness to take part in such a partnership. The company did not signal what sort of stake in the Temelín project could be offered to a new partner or partners.