Czech power utility ČEZ has extended the deadline for submitting the final bids for construction of the new nuclear reactor at the Dukovany NPP by nearly a month at the request of one of the bidders, reported by CTK to be US Westinghouse. The other bidders are France’s EDF and Korea hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), all offering pressurised water reactor designs. Westinghouse is proposing its AP1000, KHNP its APR1400 design and EDF its EPR1200 (a smaller version of its standard EPR). Russia and China were excluded from the bidding in 2021.

The new deadline is now 31 October. ČEZ said extension of the deadline has no impact on the project schedule. Bidders will submit non-binding bids for another three nuclear reactors in addition to the binding bid for one reactor in Dukovany. The deadline had already been extended from 15 September to 2 October at the request of another bidder.

South Korea’s KHNP stated that it would accept the new conditions. "Given that KHNP was ready to submit a bid in the original period on 2 October, we are fully prepared to submit a bid within the new deadline,” said the head of KHNP’s Prague office, Minhwan Chang. “KHNP considers the new nuclear construction in the Czech Republic to be its priority among its foreign projects and hopes that the postponement of the tender will not affect the overall course of the tender for the completion of the power plant in Dukovany." EDF and Westinghouse declined to comment on the postponement, CTK noted.

ČEZ said it will subsequently assess all submitted bids and hand over an assessment report to the Czech government for final approval. The tender for the new nuclear reactor in Dukovany was officially announced in March 2022. The three bidders submitted preliminary offers in November 2022. During the tender process, the bidders sent hundreds of additional queries and visited the proposed site of the reactor several times. The new reactor is expected to begin trial operation in 2036.

The construction of new nuclear sources is strategically key to our energy security. It is important for us to have as many offers as possible that will be of the highest quality,” said Minister of Industry & Trade Jozef Síkela. “Therefore, we agreed with this slight shift compared with the original plan, which will not affect the schedule for implementation of the entire project.”

The newbuild project will be one largest investment in the modern history of the Czech Republic, according to government officials, at an estimated cost about CZK160bn ($7bn) in 2020 prices. The exact price will be known at the end of the competition.

The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four Russian designed VVER-440 units at Dukovany site, which began operation between 1985 and 1987, and the two VVER-1000 units at Temelín. Total installed nuclear capacity is 3,934 MWe accounting for 32.5% of electricity generation.

Image: Dukovany nuclear power plant (courtesy of ČEZ)