October 16, 2015 / 8:29 AM / 5 years ago

CEZ's Dukovany units offline for longer than planned

PRAGUE, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Outages and delays in repairs at CEZ’s Dukovany nuclear power plant could see half the facility’s four 500-megawatt units offline longer than expected, the plant’s spokesman said on Friday.

Online data from CEZ’s transparency website show that units 1, 2 and 3 are scheduled to be offline until at least the middle of November for a variety of repairs.

CEZ already extended the outages of units 2 and 3 after taking them offline on September 17 for checks initially expected to last three to four weeks. The company’s transparency website shows Unit 2 is expected back on Nov. 27 and Unit 3 on Nov. 13.

But plant spokesman Jiri Bezdek said the transparency website only represented initial guidelines and said units 2 and 3 could be off longer than the November dates indicated on the transparency website.

“We are continuing to make new checks of the pipe welding joints,” said Bezdek. “The blocks will be reconnected at a different time. We don’t know when.”

Unit 1 went offline on August 25 and is expected to reconnected on Nov. 20, a delay from the original target of October 25, according to CEZ’s online data. Bezdek said it is the first time in Dukovany’s history three of the four units have been offline at the same time.

Unit 4 should also go offline for maintenance, according to the company’s transparency website, although Bezdek said an exact date for taking it offline would be announced later.

Dukovany is one of the company’s most profitable in its fleet and extended outages at the company’s nuclear power plants - which also include two 1,000 MW units at Temelin - can dent earnings.

At the end of the second quarter, CEZ lowered its outlook for 2015 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) due in part to earlier unplanned nuclear power plant outages.

CEZ shares are trading at a two-year low, dragged down by the outlook for weak power prices in the coming year and also uncertainty over the impact the nuclear plant outages will have on this year’s earnings.

Chief Financial Officer Martin Novak told Reuters in September the most recent outages would have a negative impact but some positive impacts could compensate that.

CEZ is due to report third-quarter earnings in November and will publish updated guidance then. (Reporting by Petra Vodstrcilova and Michael Kahn,; Editing by William Hardy)

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