Swiss utility BKW says that it expects to make a decision on safety-related upgrades to safeguard the long-term operation of Muheleberg nuclear power plant ‘by the end of 2013.’ This represents a delay of six months compared with the original schedule.

BKW blamed the delay on cost escalation, as well as regulatory uncertainty.

“The initial indicative tenders show that the original estimated costs of 170 million CHF ($185 million) will be exceeded,” it said, adding that the tenders will now need to be ‘carefully analyzed.’ This will involve determining, in consultation with external experts and the safety authorities, whether the proposed measures for which tenders have been made are necessary and sufficient.

Moreover, due to lack of competition among the suppliers, careful investigations regarding price fixing need to be undertaken, BKW said.

Finally, BKW noted that the timeframe for the upgrades will only become clear after the Federal Court decides on a time limit for the operating permit of Muheleberg.

The decision process has therefore been delayed by at least six months until the end of 2013

BKW has informed the both the Bern government and regulatory authorities about the new situation.