Elektrárna Dukovany II (EDU II), a wholly owned subsidiary of Czech power group ČEZ, has received initial bids from three suppliers for the construction of a new nuclear power unit at the Dukovany NPP – France's EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), and US-based Westinghouse. EDU II will now analyse the bids and then negotiate with the bidders. The bidders will then submit their final bids by the end of September 2023, ČEZ said. China and Russia were excluded from the tender for political reasons.

The Czech Republic operates six commercial nuclear power units – four Soviet-built VVER-440s at the Dukovany and two Russian VVER-1000 units at the Temelin NPP, which together provide about 35% of total electricity production. The Dukovany units, which were commissioned in 1985-1987, will be decommissioned no later than 2045-2047.

“We believe that the bidders have a strong interest in building a new nuclear power source in the Czech Republic. Since the tender launched in March this year, we have seen careful preparation from all bidders. They assembled strong teams for this contract, had a number of clarifying questions, and visited the Dukovany site," said Tomáš Pleskač, member of the Board of Directors and Director of the ČEZ New Energy Division.

Initial bids are the basis for clarifying technical and commercial parameters, but not for the actual selection or exclusion of contractors. The initial bids were submitted to EDU II electronically, through special encryption and uniquely secured storage.

"We expect the final bids at the end of September next year. The bids will then be evaluated by Elektrárna Dukovany II… and the evaluation report will be submitted to the state for approval. We expect the contracts to be finalised in 2024," added Pleskač.

ČEZ said its main goal is a safe project, efficient for the Czech Republic. “In the tender itself, the aim is to select the best contractor and a high-quality contract. The signing of the contract will be followed by a thorough preparation of the project documentation in order to adhere to a deadline of 2036 for the start of the new unit test operation. The new Dukovany unit will be built next to the existing power plant and serve as a future replacement for a portion of its installed capacity.”

In parallel with the tender procedure, EDU II is working on other parts of the project. After the Ministry of the Environment issued a positive opinion on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 2019, it also received a Siting Permit from the State Office for Nuclear Safety and a Generating Facility Authorisation from the Ministry of Industry & Trade last year. The zoning procedure is currently underway, for which EDU II applied to the building authority on 1 June 2021. ČEZ has also announced plans to build a small modular reactors (SMR) at the Temelin site. The government has been considering restructuring, which is 70% state-owned, in the coming years, which could lead to the government fully taking over the nuclear projects. 

Image: The Dukovany nuclear power plant (courtesy of ČEZ)