Westinghouse signs agreement with Vítkovice

Vítkovice Machinery Group signs non-exclusive cooperation deal with Westinghouse with view to supply Temelín nuclear plant

Vítkovice Machinery Group, one of the largest Czech machine engineering groups, on Thursday signed an agreement on future cooperation with the Japanese-owned US nuclear engineering firm Westinghouse — one of the three bidders looking to win the contract build two more blocks at the Temelín nuclear power plant. Vítkovice Machinery has already signed a similar agreement with the Rosatom-led consortium.

“For Westinghouse it is increasingly important to have a strong and diversified network of suppliers,” Yves Brachet, Westinghouse’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa told the ČTK news agency, adding that the agreement should pave the way for cooperation not only on the Temelín tender if won, but also on projects elsewhere in the world. ‘[It] is increasingly important to have a strong and diversified network of suppliers.’

Vítkovice Machinery signed an agreement on future cooperation with the Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom at the end of October when the concern’s head, Sergei Kirienko, paid a visit to the Czech Republic to promote the Russian-led bid. Rosatom, controls the Russian nuclear engineering firm Atomstroyexport and reactor builder Gidropress, which together have formed a consortium with the Russian-owned Czech nuclear engineering firm Škoda JS.

The third bidder in the tender to build two new reactor blocks at the Temelín plant in South Bohemia, Areva of France, says it is in the final stage of talks with Vítkovice Machinery on signing an agreement on future cooperation. The Vítkovice Machinery is expected to be one of the major subcontractors and suppliers for the Temelín expansion, irrespective of which bidder wins the contract.

Vítkovice Machinery is an established supplier of furnaces for carbon fuel power stations and steam generators and other components for nuclear power plants. The firm supplied steam generators for the two Atomstroy VVER 1000 reactor blocks in operation at Temelín’s first two blocks, and more recently has supplied components to nuclear plants in France, Finland, Hungary, Ukraine India and China.

Several months ago the Rosatom-led consortium was widely tipped as the favorite to win the tender largely due to its emphasis on plans to outsource more work than its rivals to Czech subcontractors.‘A repeat of the first two blocks at Temelín, joining Russian technology with an American operating system, would be ideal.’

Vítkovice CEO Jan Světlík was also said to favor the Russian-led consortium expecting it would provide his firm with most work. “A repeat of the first two blocks at Temelín, joining Russian technology with an American operating system, would be ideal,” Světlík told the Czech business daily Hospodářské noviny earlier in the year.

In recent months, however, Areva — majority owned by the French state — and Westinghouse — controlled by Toshiba of Japan — have stepped up efforts to convince the Czech engineering sector that they intend to outsource a large part of the work namely to Czech companies.

According to E15, Westinghouse’s and Areva’s efforts in this area appear to be bearing fruit: “Other Czech firms are in negotiations on cooperation with the all the bidders; therefore, the Russians must take into account that they are losing their advantage,” the daily wrote on Thursday.  

The deadline for the submission of offers to build the new blocks at Temelín has been set for July 2, 2012, and the winner is expected to be announced in 2013. The Czech state-controlled power major ČEZ, the owner and operator of the Temelín plant, expects the two new reactor blocks to go on line by 2025.

All previous articles about the Temelín tender are archived here