Czech ČEZ sets July 2012 deadline for nuclear reactor offers

Czech utility ČEZ starts the clock ticking for bidders hoping to build two more reactors at the Temelín nuclear plant

Chris Johnstone 31.10.2011

Jaderná elektrárna Temelín. foto: © ILUSTRAČeská pozice

Jaderná elektrárna Temelín.

Czech electricity firm ČEZ set an eight-month deadline for the three international rivals bidding to build two new nuclear reactors at its Temelín site to hand in their completed offers after officially distributing the tender documentation outlining the state-controlled company’s demands on Monday.

The three bidders for the contract worth around Kč 200 billion (France’s Areva, US-based nuclear company Westinghouse, and a consortium led by Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Czech nuclear industry supplier Škoda JS) will have to submit bids by July 2, 2012.

Half of the evaluation criteria will be made up of technical specifications, including safety measures and licensing details, with the remainder made up of the business conditions such as the offer price and other commercial terms, ČEZ said in a statement.

The conditions will not specifically include any criteria about the jobs or the proportion of the contract work that can be guaranteed for Czechs. “We would however welcome statements about this from the bidders,” Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kocourek (Civic Democrat, ODS) remarked at the handover ceremony at ČEZ headquarters.

One surprise element in the bid specifications is that the winning bidder will also have to guarantee fuel for the two new reactors for at least nine years after they start operating. The winning bidder should be selected by the end of 2013.

The first of the two new reactors should be operational in 2023 with the second around 18 months later, said ČEZ chief executive Daniel Beneš. In an answer to a question, he said reports Monday that anti-nuclear Austria could ban exports of nuclear produced electricity and would be within its rights as an EU member state to do so, would not have any impact on the construction of the two new reactors. Exports of electricity to Austria were not a crucial part of the Temelín business plan, Beneš said, adding, “I do not think there is a link.”

‘At the present time, any work on building a new nuclear plant is not easy and does not make you friends in Europe.’

The Czech decision to push ahead with the tender in spite of the decision in neighboring Germany to close nuclear plants from 2022 and decisions to shut down plants in Switzerland and forgo any nuclear construction in Italy was welcomed by the Czech government appointee to supervise the Temelín tender, Václav Bartuška.

“At the present time, any work on building a new nuclear plant is not easy and does not make you friends in Europe,” Bartuška said, thanking the government for its persistence.

“I would congratulate the Czech people for looking to the long-term,” said one of the representatives who signed for the bidding documentation, Westinghouse’s Middle East, Europe and Africa president, Anders Jackson. “They should have some of the cheapest and safest electricity in the future,” he added.

The bidding documentation has been worked on by more than 400 in-house specialists with state-controlled power company ČEZ also making use of outside consultants. The documentation totals 6,000 pages and weighed around 70 kilograms. “It represents 1 million man hours of work,” said ČEZ boss Beneš. “It would have taken one man 110 years if he were working 24-hours a day to compile,” he added.