Czech ministry to order launch of nuclear power plant tender -spokesman

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Industry Ministry will order next week the launch of a tender for a new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant, a spokesman for the ministry said on Sunday.

The previous government last year sent security questionnaires to three potential bidders – Westinghouse of the United States, France’s EDF and South Korea’s KHNP – after candidates from China and Russia were excluded on security grounds.

“Industry Minister Jozef Sikela will issue an order next week for the tender for a new unit at Dukovany nuclear power plant,” spokesman Vojtech Srnka said.

Czech state-controlled electricity producer CEZ operates four units of 510 megawatts each at the Dukovany plant, built from 1985 to 1987. The new unit is meant to replace facilities set to retire in the coming decades.

Czech authorities dropped Russia from the tender, estimated to be worth at least 6 billion euros ($6.55 billion), in April last year amid a diplomatic row with Moscow over a deadly blast at a Czech arms depot in 2014 that Russia denied involvement in.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in February that under the tender plans, a supplier for the new Dukovany unit could be picked in 2024 and construction permits obtained by 2029. He has said it was necessary to launch the unit by 2036.

Nuclear power is an important energy source in the Czech Republic, accounting for 40% of its energy mix.

($1 = 0.9167 euros)

(Reporting by Robert Muller, Editing by Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)


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