by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) Oct 29, 2012
Czech state-run power group CEZ said Monday it had rejected an appeal by France's Areva against its elimination from a tender to build two new units at its Temelin nuclear plant in the southern Czech Republic.
Along with US giant Westinghouse and Russia's Atomstroiexport, Areva placed a bid in July for the contract worth an estimated 200-300 billion koruna (8-12 billion euros, $10.5-15.7 billion).
A winner is expected to be announced in late 2013.
CEZ ruled Areva out of the tender on October 5. The French state-run company then filed an appeal.
According to the Czech daily Lidove noviny, Areva had refused to set a fixed price for the contract and a completion deadline.
"In line with the public procurement law and after carefully assessing all factors, CEZ has decided not to accept the objections," CEZ said in a statement late Monday.
"Areva now has 10 days to file a proposal to review (CEZ's) steps with the Czech anti-monopoly office," it added.
Areva also announced Monday it would appeal again as it "disagrees with CEZ's exclusion notification in the Temelin... project."
"I deeply regret Areva is being penalised based on matters that have never been discussed between the parties before, without any dialogue or clarification process," Areva chief executive Luc Oursel said in the Monday statement.
The two units, due to be finished by 2025, will raise the share of nuclear energy in the Czech energy mix to about 50 percent from the current 30 percent produced by Temelin and another CEZ-operated nuclear plant in the southern village of Dukovany.
Temelin, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Prague, but only about 60 kilometres from the Austrian border, has been repeatedly criticised by Vienna over safety concerns.
It may also become a thorn in the side of Germany, which has vowed to shut down its own nuclear reactors by 2022.
The Czech government, which owns two-thirds of CEZ, is betting on nuclear power as its communist-era coal-fired plants are likely facing closure amid tighter regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
Planned in the communist era and launched in 2000, the existing Temelin facility includes two Russian-type VVER pressurised-water reactors, each with an output of 1,000 megawatts.
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