Czech Rep abandons geo-politically sensitive nuclear tender

Kateřina Vokurková Kateřina Vokurková, Ivan Eckhardt
10. 4. 2014 14:48
CEZ head Benes: Because of current situation in energy sector, profitability of project to build two new reactors at Temelin nuclear power plant cannot be guaranteed
Temelin nuclear power plant
Temelin nuclear power plant | Foto: Reuters

Prague - Czech semi-state energy giant CEZ has announced it is canceling its tender to build two new reactors at the Temelin nuclear power plant. Because of the present situation in the energy sector, the project's profitability cannot be guaranteed, said CEZ chief executive Daniel Benes.

Czech Minister: Russia shouldn't get EUR 11 billion nuclear deal

CEZ has communicated the decision to both bidders, Japanese-American company Westinghouse and Russian-Czech consortium MIR 1.200, which is controlled by Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom.

Areva, the French bidder that was excluded from the tender in 2012, has also received the information.

“From the year 2009, when the public tender was announced, to this day, Europe's energy sector has changed dramatically,” said Benes, adding that a recent drop in energy prices in the European market has made the project unprofitable.

The decision does not mean that CEZ will not build any new nuclear sources in the Czech Republic in the future, said Benes.

CEZ discussed the move with the Czech government, which assured it is interested in further developing the Czech Republic's nuclear energy sector.

The deal, estimated to be worth as much as CZK 300 billion (EUR 11 billion), was seen by some experts in the Czech Republic and abroad as a geopolitical contest between Russia's and America's bids.

Westinghouse has "indisputable lead" in Temelin tender

Experts told Aktualne.cz at the end of February this year that the Czech market would not need the two new reactors before 2030.

Since 2009, CEZ has spent hundreds of millions of korunas on the tender process, which was handled by a team of approximately 100 people.

Czech President Milos Zeman said on Wednesday this week that CEZ should start a new tender process with four bidders: Westinghouse, MIR 1.200, Areva, and an unspecified South Korean investor. Zeman also said that on Tuesday he had met with the deputy speaker of the South Korean parliament.

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