Final bids submitted for new reactor at Czech plant

November 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Dukovany nuclear power plant. (Photo: INSP)

Elektrárna Dukovany II (EDU II), a subsidiary of Czech utility ČEZ, has received final bids for the construction of a fifth reactor at the Dukovany plant, as well as nonbinding bids for three additional units to be sited at Dukovany and at Temelín, the Czech Republic’s other nuclear power facility. (Dukovany currently houses four Russian VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors, while Temelín is home to two VVER-1000/V320s.)

The three bidders—a U.S.-based Westinghouse/Bechtel team, Électricité de France, and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power—submitted their initial bids for the project late last year.

According to ČEZ’s October 31 announcement, EDU II will now evaluate the bids from economic, commercial, and technical points of view, using a model based on International Atomic Energy Agency recommendations. The competition pits Westinghouse’s AP1000 against EDF’s EPR1200 and KHNP’s APR1000. All are Generation III+ PWRs.

“We are happy to confirm the strong interest of all three bidders in constructing a new nuclear power plant in Czechia,” said Tomáš Pleskač, ČEZ board member and director of the company’s new energy division. “We have seen careful preparation by all bidders since the tender was launched in March last year. Now we will evaluate the bids and, according to the contract with the state, we will submit the evaluation report to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and then to the Czech government for final approval.”

ČEZ expects to announce the winning bidder in 2024 and hopes to have Dukovany-5 in operation by 2036.

Westinghouse representatives Michael Coon, vice president of new plant projects (third from right), and Petr Brzezina, the company’s Czech Republic/Slovakia president (second from right), join Ivan Baldwin of Bechtel (at right) to deliver the Westinghouse/Bechtel bid to representatives from ČEZ. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Pitches: “Westinghouse first partnered with the Czech Republic on nuclear energy three decades ago, and we are proud and excited to be able to further honor that commitment by providing safe, reliable nuclear energy from our proven AP1000 technology,” said David Durham, energy systems president at Westinghouse. “Together we can lay the foundation for a clean, secure energy future that extends for the next 80 years of operation and beyond.”

John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security, and environmental business unit, said his firm looks forward to “sharing our expertise in the Czech Republic to provide not only clean, reliable nuclear energy but to strengthen the local nuclear workforce and suppliers throughout the region for generations to come.”

The Westinghouse/Bechtel team also received a can’t-hurt endorsement from U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic Bijan Sabet. “We see mutual benefits to both the United States and the Czech Republic,” Sabet stated. “From a strategic energy security perspective, selecting a U.S. technology would provide the Czech Republic with a reliable source of clean energy that not only will combat climate change and reduce emissions but will be an investment in the Czech people, creating thousands of green jobs across the nuclear supply chain.”

EDF chairman and chief executive officer Luc Rémont noted that “as the only vendor and builder of third-generation nuclear technology in Europe, we believe that the long-term strategic partnership we are proposing will set a precedent for our continent and serve as the backbone for a more resilient and independent European nuclear industry.” By choosing EPR technology, Rémont contended, “the Czech Republic will benefit from a massive fleet effect and create many industrial synergies between our current and future nuclear programs in France, the U.K., and beyond.”

In case you missed it: In late March, Westinghouse signed an agreement with ČEZ to supply VVER-440 fuel assemblies to Dukovany. Fuel deliveries are set to commence in 2024, replacing Russia’s TVEL fuel, with an anticipated term of seven years.

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