PRAGUE, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Czech utility CEZ (CEZP.PR) will start talks with bidders for a multi-billion dollar project to build a new unit at its Dukovany nuclear power plant sooner than expected, a CEZ official said on Tuesday.
Clarification discussions will begin this week, rather than in April, with France’s EDF (EDF.PA), South Korea’s KHNP, and U.S.-Canadian group Westinghouse Electric, CEZ board member Tomas Pleskac said on Twitter.
“We want to give them more time to work up quality final offers,” he said.
CEZ expects final bids around the middle of September, which could be marginally earlier than an end-September date revealed when CEZ announced bidders in November last year.
Pleskac said he expected initial talks starting now to wrap up by the end of May.
CEZ, 70% owned by the state, plans to build a 1,200 megawatt unit at Dukovany, and possibly three more at the Temelin plant.
The project is backed by state financing and a pledge to buy power from the unit at pre-determined prices.
But investors expect the government to take over nuclear projects fully as part of an intended restructuring of CEZ following the government’s declaration last year that it wants to take full control of key electricity production plants for national security reasons.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala said last week the plan would be prepared sometime this year.
The Dukovany unit is due to be completed in 2036.
CEZ also plans to build several small modular nuclear reactors at its current coal-fired plant locations, with the first one to be completed in 2032.
Source - CEZ starting early talks with bidders for new nuclear power unit