Russians win Paks fuel recovery contract

1 October 2003

The management board at Hungary's Paks plant is to contract Russia's TVEL to carry out repair work following an incident in early April when fuel rods were damaged (see NEI June 2003, p14).

In a contract worth around $4.6 million, TVEL will remove damaged fuel rods from a cleaning tank in unit 2 and place them in long-term storage. The work is due to take two months, following a six-month preparation period.

At a press conference on 18 August, Paks CEO Istvan Kocsis said an independent expert panel evaluated bids for the work. TVEL had rated 182 points, but a joint French-German bid from Framatome ANP had been more costly and had longer deadlines, and was rated at 158 points.

The continuing shutdown of unit 2, which was due to be back on line in early May, is reported to be costing Paks over $200,000 daily and some estimate in addition a further $4 million worth of repairs will be necessary.

Responsibility for the incident, which occurred during a Framatome ANP cleaning procedure overseen by Paks, has still to be finally assigned. An IAEA report assigned some blame to Paks, saying that the plant had passed too much responsibility to Framatome ANP. Paks said Framatome ANP was willing to strike a fair deal, but if negotiations continued into November the case may go to arbitration.

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