Temelín nuclear reactor race to start from Oct. 31

Bidders for the massive Temelín nuclear contract will be put under starter's orders to start compiling their bids on Monday

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

State-controlled electricity company ČEZ has said on Oct. 31 will hand out all required documentation relating to the proposed expansion of its Temelín nuclear plant to the three bidders hoping to construct two more reactors at the site, in a move that will put them under starting orders to set out their offers.

Three heavyweight nuclear construction companies and groups are lined up for the contract, estimated to be 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. 

The important landmark moment for the tender has been preceded by some frantic lobbying by some of the bidders. Russian state nuclear company Rosatom head Sergei Kirienko was in Prague at the start of this week to sign contracts with prospective Czech suppliers for the Temelín contract; he promised up to Kč 120 billion in work for Czech companies if the Russian-led consortium is successful. The important landmark moment for the tender has been preceded by some frantic lobbying by some of the bidders.

Kirienko’s trip included a meeting with Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrat, ODS), who is due to meet with US President Barack Obama in Washingtonon Thursday, with the Temelín contract among the main items for bilateral talks during the two-day official visit.

Handing over the Temelín tender documentation should start a process that will culminate with the winners being selected at the end of 2013. The first of the two new nuclear reactors should be up and running in 2022 or 2023, with the second online in the following year, ČEZ chief executive Daniel Beneš announced earlier this month.

Monday’s celebratory event should be attended by the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Martin Kocourek (ODS), as well as by former Czech energy envoy Václav Bartuška, who now tasked with keeping an eye on the tender and ensuring that the Czech Republic’s strategic interests are taken account of, and representatives of the three shortlisted bidders.

The ČEZ tender covers the two main reactors with options for another three, one of which could be build by a joint venture between the Czech state-controlled power company and Slovakia’s state nuclear company, JAVYS.