French Temelín expansion bidder Areva lines up Czech suppliers

French bidder in the three-way contest to expand Temelín nuclear plant has lined up partnerships with nearly a dozen Czech firms

Plans are to at least double the size of the Temelín complex with the current two reactors increased to four | na serveru Lidovky.cz | aktuální zprávy Plans are to at least double the size of the Temelín complex with the current two reactors increased to four | foto: © ILUSTRAČeská pozice
Plans are to at least double the size of the Temelín complex with the current two reactors increased to four

Areva, the French nuclear power plant constructor in the running to build two new nuclear reactors for state-controlled power company ČEZ at Temelín, will announce deals with around a dozen Czech sub-contractors it has lined up to cooperate with if it wins the massive tender.

The multinational says it has over 10 cooperation agreements with Czech suppliers, which will be signed on Monday in what it describes as “a key event for the Czech market.” The move steps up the French company’s bid to land the estimated  Kč 150 billion-Kč 200 billion contract to expand Temelín.

Areva’s announcement follows on the heels of one in late January by a rival bidder, US-based Westinghouse, that it had sealed an exclusive partnership with the Czech Republic’s biggest construction company, Metrostav, for it to carry out a large part of the building work, worth around a third of the overall contract price.

The third bidder, a consortium of Russia’s Atomstrojexport and Czech engineering group Škoda JS, argues that it is already positioned to provide a lot of work and jobs for Czech firms, thanks to the link with the experienced Plzeň-based nuclear engineering and supply company.

The three bidders must submit their offers to the near 70-percent state-controlled power company by July 2. ČEZ should select a winner (or decide that that none of the offers comes in at a price which makes economic sense) by the end of 2013.

Helping hand

While ČEZ has not attached any demands on the nuclear bidders that they promise large chunks of work and orders to Czech companies — and it would break EU competition rules if it did so — strong local participation in their bids will undoubtedly be an advantage.

The Czech government has signaled that it would like local companies to gain nuclear know-how as one of the broader benefits of Temelín’s expansion.

Areva’s announcement follows growing speculation that, in the end, no bidder will be successful, with ČEZ forced finally to mothball its plans for at least 2,000 MW of new capacity at Temelín because of low electricity and tight financing for the long-term investment. An unnamed ČEZ manager cited by Czech daily Lidové noviny on Saturday put the chances of no winner for the Temelín tender being declared at around one in three.