Czech head of state calls for Areva return to Temelín tender
Czech president Miloš Zeman has a lot to say about most macroeconomic issues but his call for French nuclear constructer Areva to be brought back into the Temelín tender does not totally add up.
First of all, it would probably be based on Areva ending its current procedures in Czech courts and at the European Commission to challenge ČEZ’s decision back in October 2012 to throw it out of the original tender for failure to meet some of the criteria. The move left US based Westinghouse and the Russian led MIR 1200 consortium in the running what has been described as the Czech tender of the century.
Secondly, Zeman argues that two bidders are good, but three are a lot better in any competition. His rule of thumb is that at least a five percent cut in the price of the contract can be won from putting Areva back in the game. Added to that, the head-of-state says that the new for old tender would only mean a delay of several months to the ongoing procedures.
So far, so good. But the problem is that Areva is offering reactors with a lot more capacity than its rivals and its price tag is reckoned to be correspondingly higher as well. It’s experience of building such reactors is not a great selling argument either with existing projects well over cost and schedule. Areva says it is learning the lessons.
Added to that, the European Commission appears to be taking a very skeptical view on state support for new nuclear capacity if its initial comments on British aid for two new reactors are anything to go on. That stance has angered both the Czech government and ČEZ and been taken as an indication that Brussels is exceeding its powers to interfere in the choice of national energy priorities. Perhaps, the most that Zeman’s call has going for it is that it does not really matter. The Czech government, ČEZ, European climate change decisions, and the decisions of neighbouring states to build more power plants will have a much more telling impact on this than the head of state.