Prague - American-Japanese company Westinghouse is closer to win a multi-billion euro contract to expand the Czech Temelin nuclear power plant than the other bidder, Russia's Rosatom, according to a preliminary ranking conducted by the Temelin operator, Czech semi-state energy giant CEZ.
Westinghouse CEO Danny Roderick confirmed his company's lead at a press conference. "At this moment, our company holds a lead. It is a great honor for Westinghouse to participate in this process, which complies with the law on public contracts," said Roderick during his visit to Prague on Monday 25 March.
"The evaluation confirmed that our AP1000 technology is the most secure available," Roderick said, adding though that his company has not secured the lucrative contract yet. "We will continue in our efforts to offer the best price and the highest security," said the CEO, whose presence in Prague was allegedly only a coincidence. "Our lead is indisputable," assured Roderick.
The contract value is estimated at between EUR 8 billion and EUR 12 billion.
The other bidder, Czech-Russian consortium MIR.1200 controlled by Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, ended up significantly behind Westinghouse in the preliminary ranking.
CEZ itself has not revealed the information to the public, but the preliminary ranking was confirmed by Roderick at the press conference as well as by sources from Rosatom/MIR.1200.
According to Aktualne.cz's sources, MIR.1200 did expect to come in second in the preliminary ranking, but was surprised that Westinghouse's lead was so big. The same sources now say that it is unlikely that MIR.1200 will be able to reverse the final result.
MIR.1200's PR manager Ales Pospisil said that the consortium came in first in three of the four criteria. "It is very likely that it is a misunderstanding that will clear up and we will dispel the doubts," said Pospisil.
Nonetheless, the Russians appear to be taken by surprise by the ranking and, according to first unofficial reactions, they are not going to accept it.
"Our offer was better in terms of price as well as in terms of contract conditions. We were surprised that localization of supplies was not taken into account. And we absolutely do not understand how the technical risks of both offers were evaluated. If the reactor offered by Westinghouse has not been completed anywhere yet, what criteria were used to evaluate its technical risks?" asked a source close to MIR.1200.
CEZ is expected to make the final decision on the Temelin expansion project in several months. The work is planned to be completed by 2025.