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Czechs snub Westinghouse bid for nuclear reactor

By AFP

January 31, 2024 09:18 PM


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The Czech government on Wednesday said it had eliminated US-based Westinghouse from a nuclear tender worth billions of dollars, leaving France's EDF and South Korea's KHNP in contention.

Prague launched the tender in 2022 for one new reactor but the government has since said it wanted binding bids for four new units at the Soviet-built Temelin and Dukovany power stations.

"The situation on the energy market has changed since the government declared the tender and we know one new unit won't be enough," said Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

The government expects the bids in April. The contract with the selected supplier is due to be signed at the turn of the year, with the first reactor to be launched in 2036, Fiala added.

"The bid submitted by (Westinghouse)... failed to meet the conditions as it was not binding. We will continue with KHNP and EDF," Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela told reporters.

The government originally wanted a binding bid for one reactor for Dukovany and non-binding bids for a Dukovany unit and two Temelin reactors.

The state-run power group CEZ currently runs six nuclear units at the two plants located in the south of the country, which last year produced about 40 percent of the country's total electricity output.

Sikela said Czech energy output would grow quickly in the coming years and that the EU member of 10.8 million people needs to replace high-emission and obsolete resources.

"Our power consumption could grow by... 66 percent by 2050. Nuclear energy as a low-carbon resource... will cover a considerable part of the growth but we need more than one new reactor for that," he added.

Russia's Rosatom and China's CGN had also previously expressed an interest in the bidding but Czech authorities said their proposals would not be considered "for security reasons".

In 2022, Westinghouse won a bid to build the first nuclear power station in neighbouring Poland for around $20 billion, seeing off bids from EDF and KHNP.


AFP


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