Photo: Dukovany, credit CEZ

Government Will Discuss Decision on New Nuclear Units With Opposition, Says Finance Minister

The Czech government expects to negotiate with the opposition ANO on the construction of new nuclear units, but is bound by confidentiality rules until the tender is concluded, Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura (ODS) said in a discussion on Czech Television yesterday.

“The tender is not closed, we are all bound by confidentiality, we cannot tell you anything about it even behind closed doors,” Stanjura told ANO parliamentary group leader Alena Schillerova during the discussion.

The government wants the bidders for the construction of a new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant, French firm EDF and South Korean company KHNP, to prepare a new binding bid for four new units in Dukovany and Temelin. US company Westinghouse, whose bid did not meet the conditions, will not proceed to the next part of the tender, the government said. The bidders also submitted a non-binding offer for building three new units, together with the binding offer for one.

Stanjura said this does not mean that all four reactors would be built, as that decision has not yet been made. He said the binding bids for the four units are intended to help decide how many will actually be built – whether one, two, or four.

Schillerova, who was finance minister in the previous parliamentary term, said the government must negotiate about the construction of new nuclear units because it is a crucial decision. “We are not in fundamental conflict,” she noted. She said the price may be up to CZK 2 trillion.

Stanjura said the winner of the tender may be known in late May or early June, and then there would be nine months for negotiations about the contract. “We will negotiate with ANO, but only when we have more information,” he said.

Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) pointed out that the possible construction of four units would mean a fundamental change in the financing of the project, involving cuts in government spending or tax rises. He said it would also have to be clear who would be the investor. He added that he could imagine the possibility of the government setting up two companies to build only the new units at Dukovany and Temelin.

Stanjura said funding models would be considered after the government gets binding prices.

The bidders have until mid-April to submit their binding bids. The state-controlled energy company CEZ will then have a month and a half to evaluate them, and at the end of May it will submit its recommendations to the government.

According to the cabinet, the modification of the tender will not affect the deadline for the expected commissioning of the first reactor at Dukovany by the end of 2036.

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