January 23, 2015 / 10:34 AM / 4 years ago

CEZ not ready to launch new nuclear expansion tender -CEO

PRAGUE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Czech utility CEZ is not yet ready to launch a new multi-billion dollar tender to expand its Temelin nuclear power plant, Chief Executive Daniel Benes said in an interview with online magazine Dotyk.

Asked whether a tender would be called this year, Benes said the company had a team looking at sites at the Temelin and Dukovany nuclear power stations.

“But we are not yet at the phase where we would need to run a tender,” he said.

Central Europe’s largest listed utility scrapped a tender worth more than $10 billion to expand Temelin in April 2014 due to low wholesale power prices and the government’s refusal to provide price guarantees for the power produced.

It has held off on restarting any formal tender process while the centre-left government defines its energy strategy, a document set for debate next month.

Industry Minister Jan Mladek told Reuters on Thursday the expansion of the country’s nuclear power capacity would probably be handled through a subsidiary of CEZ as that was the best way to allow the project supplier to share in the risk.

The last tender saw Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit pitted against Russia’s Atomstroyexport after France’s Areva was disqualified for not meeting requirements.

All three, along with bidders from South Korea and China, are expected to compete for any new tender.

Reporting by Jason Hovet; editing by Jason Neely

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