Bids in for new Temelin units

02 July 2012

CORRECTED: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Westinghouse AP1000 was still undergoing amendments to it's design certification to meet new US requirements. This was out of date. The AP1000 has full current design certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Three previously approved reactor vendors have today submitted their bids to Czech utility CEZ for the contract to build two more units at the Temelin nuclear power plant. A new public opinion poll has found strong support for their construction.  

MIR1200 delivers Temelin bid  
Sign here: The AtomStroyExport consortium delivers its bid documentation (Image: CEZ)  

In November 2011, CEZ released detailed tender documentation defining the full scope of the public contract, including commercial and technical requirements for the supply of two complete nuclear power plant blocks on a full turn-key basis, including the nuclear fuel assemblies for nine years of operation. At the same time, it formally invited the candidates - Areva; a consortium between Škoda JS, AtomStroyExport and OKB Gidropress; and Westinghouse – to submit their bids for Temelin units 3 and 4. 

CEZ said that all bids and plans must comply with the relevant legislation of the Czech Republic as well as applicable EU requirements and safety requirements defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA). Furthermore, noted CEZ chairman and CEO Daniel Benes, the plans must also be licensed in the vendors' home countries or in one of the EU Member States. "Compliance with this set of requirements is a prerequisite for obtaining all the necessary licences in the Czech Republic," he added.

Areva is putting forward its EPR design, as licensed in Finland and France and eventually also to be in the UK and USA. The AtomStroyExport consortium's bid is based on Gidropress' MIR-1200 third generation VVER model under construction at Leningrad Phase II and Novovoronezh Phase II. Westinghouse's AP1000 has design certification in the USA  and has interim approval in the UK.

All three contenders have today submitted sealed boxes containing documentation supporting their respective bids. Each vendor has submitted a commercial proposal, a technical proposal and a proposal for the supply of nuclear fuel. Areva's bid was contained within 33 boxes, while the AtomStroyExport consortium's documentation covers almost 80,000 pages and weighs almost one tonne.

CEZ said that it will open the boxes tomorrow to begin its detailed examination and evaluation of each offer. It will then negotiate with the applicants in order to improve their offers. The company expects to select the reactor supplier and sign the construction contract by the end of 2013. The three candidates have all formed partnerships with Czech companies to ensure a high level of localization.

Benes said, "Completion of the nuclear power plant is a key pillar of the strategy of CEZ, so we are glad that we have three offers from the world's leading suppliers of nuclear technology." He added, "Today we made another significant step to ensure reliable electricity supplies for Czech customers in the decades ahead. All I can assure you is that we will consider the offers very responsibly."

The Temelin site is already home to two VVER-1000 reactors, in operation since 2000 and 2003 respectively. Four earlier VVER models have also been in operation at Dukovany since the mid-1980s. Original plans for two further VVER units to be built at Temelin were put on hold by the Czech government in 1990. The tender process for the new Temelin units was launched in August 2009.

Public support

The submission of the bids for the new Temelin units comes as a new poll shows strong public support for nuclear energy in the Czech Republic, with 77% of people saying they consider nuclear power as an option for ensuring energy security.

The survey of 975 adults between 12 and 21 May was conducted for CEZ by the STEM polling agency. The results indicate that 62% of people support the further development of nuclear energy in the country. Although this is lower than the 71% recorded in a 2009 poll, it is significantly higher than the 54% figure found in a July 2011 survey, a few months after the Fukushima accident in Japan.

Energy self-sufficiency was one of the main reasons given for supporting the use of nuclear energy, with 78% of respondents saying that nuclear would reduce the country's dependency on electricity imports.

Some 68% of respondents said that they would participate if a referendum were held regarding the construction of new reactors at the Temelin plant. Of these, 70% said they would vote in support of building the units. Based on this response, around 60% of Czechs would support the new reactors.

The survey also found that over half (54%) of respondents support the continued use and modernization of the Dukovany plant. In addition, 48% supported the construction of new reactors at Dukovany, while 42% said they opposed this.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News