A top Czech energy official has warned of a “euro [crisis] situation” for European countries over a growing deficit in electricity production, with countries imagining someone else will find the solution for them. Václav Bartuška, the government’s point man on the Temelín nuclear plant expansion, says Prague should push ahead with its plans — despite anti-nuclear pressure from Germany and Austria.
Around 6,000 pages of specifications and explanations were symbolically handed over to the three bidders to build two new reactors at ČEZ’s existing Temelín facility on Monday. The documentation details exactly what the state-controlled power company seeks from rivals Areva, Westinghouse and the consortium of Russia's Atomstrojexport and Škoda JS with a July 2, 2012, deadline to deliver offers.
The contract to build two new reactor blocks at the Temelín nuclear power plant promises to be the largest tender in Czech history and one of the largest civil engineering projects in the EU in the coming years. With the tender documentation due to be issued on Oct. 31, the three bidders are stepping up their PR campaigns; earlier this week we spoke with Rosatom, and now with Areva.
Czech electricity giant ČEZ will hand out all the documentation relating to the expansion of its Temelín nuclear plant to the three bidders on Oct. 31 so they can prepare offers. The move starts the real race between France’s Areva, US-based Westinghouse, and a consortium led by Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Czech nuclear industry supplier Škoda JS.
The head of Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom, Sergei Kirienko, put the onus on the positive in Prague on Monday as it positions itself to build two new reactors at Czech nuclear plant Temelín. If the tender is decided primarily according to technological and economic criteria then the consortium headed by Rosatom has the best credentials to win, said the former Russian prime minister, but if its on geopolitical grounds, then it will lose.
According to a classified annual report by the Czech counterespionage and intelligence agency BIS, a Russian consortium has better chances than US firm Westinghouse of winning the bid to build new reactors at the Temelín nuclear power plant, an anonymous source told Czech news server aktualne.cz. Of the three expected bidders, the French firm Areva is reportedly “out of the game.”
Czechs with a pro-nuclear power stance have welcomed news that the number two at the Czech nuclear safety watchdog, the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB), Petr Krs, has been given a key role in EU stress tests of atomic plants (with a Frenchman in the top spot). But environmentalists and green groups just see it as confirmation that the evaluation process has been rigged in advance.
ČEZ’s chief executive Daniel Beneš says that the Czech state-controlled power company should provide bidders for expansion of the Temelín nuclear plant with all the details they will need for making offers by the end of October. The ball, so to speak, will then be in their court. Offers should be submitted by mid-2012, and the final victor of the closely followed tender selected at the end of 2013, Beneš added.
Speaking at the conference Energetické Třebíčsko 2011 on Wednesday, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Martin Kocourek (Civic Democrats, ODS), announced that the government is counting on extending the lifespan of the Czech Republic’s oldest nuclear power plant Dukovany, and building a fifth reactor block at the country’s other nuclear plant, Temelín, after 2020.
US Vice-President Joe Biden made blunt warnings about reliance on Russian energy and encouraged Czechs to sign up US company Westinghouse to build new nuclear reactors in the country when he visited Prague in late 2009, diplomatic dispatches leaked by WikiLeaks have revealed. Unfortunately, previous remarks from the Prague embassy undercut some of Biden's warnings.