Czech power giant ČEZ says it will sound out its peers, including European rivals, as possible partners for the expansion of Temelín. France’s EdF is already tipped as a possible frontrunner with Asian interest also suggested.
Near 70 percent state-owned Czech electricity giant ČEZ says it is willing to test out whether a partner could be found for the estimated Kč 150 billion–Kč 200 billion tender to add two new nuclear reactors to its Temelín site. If the path seems promising a tender for a partner could be held once the constructor had been chosen in 2013.
The regional director of French nuclear power plant constructor Areva says doubts about the Temelín nuclear expansion tender resulting in a winner and a substantial part of the work going to local companies are misplaced.
The Czech government is holding off on committing itself to any firm support for the expansion of the Temelín nuclear plant for now with one of the options, guaranteed prices for nuclear-produced electricity, being opposed by the head of the country’s energy regulator. But one brokerage says there is still time for a support package to be agreed.
Rusatom Overseas, the foreign marketing arm of Russian state nuclear construction company Rosatom, has upped the pressure on its two rival bidders to build two new reactors at Temelín by saying it can finance the whole project if need be. Areva of France and Westinghouse, a US unit of Japan’s Toshiba, have refused to give such a commitment. The move puts pressure on ČEZ and the Czech state if financing becomes the key issue for Temelín’s expansion.
The flurry of local alliances and tie-ups from competitors to land the contract to expand the Temelín nuclear power plant continues with the Russian-Czech joint venture announcing a further 10 local and Slovak companies who could be suppliers for the ČEZ contract and others worldwide.
US Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen has said he expects the expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant to go ahead as planned despite recent comments by officials from the Czech government and state-controlled power producer ČEZ that it may be cancelled or no winner chosen in the tender. As for the project’s viability, Areva’s representative has said the project doesn’t depend on current electricity prices.
The French bidder for the Temelín expansion contract, Areva, has converted 14 potential suppliers into fully fledged contractors ready to supply goods and services for the Czech nulcear contact and others around the world. More Czech companies will follow suit, it says, stressing its target to source around 70 percent of the value of the Temelín contract price tag locally.
Promises of a nuclear renaissance have fizzled out — not over Fukushima, but over financing — with the cost of building new plants soaring. Czech electricity producer ČEZ says its own cash flow could fund two new Temelín reactors, but the resulting scrimping and constrictions would not be welcome. Partnerships and support options may help lighten the load. But will ČEZ look to the British, Finnish, or American financing models?
Getting local companies on board, preferably in exclusive partnership deals, is not a condition for Czech state-controlled power giant ČEZ's competition to find a main contractor to build two new nuclear reactors at its Temelín site, but it will certainly be seen as a big help in sugaring the final bid. French contract bidder Areva is to unveil around a dozen Czech companies it has signed up as partners for its offer on Monday.