Only three companies have made bids to build two new nuclear reactors at
power company ČEZ’s existing Temelín facility with the option of a
further three at other sites, according to the news server of the Czech
daily Lidové noviny. The paper listed the three as US-based Westinghouse,
France’s Areva and Russian state-controlled firm Atomstrojexport.
Expectations had been that around a dozen companies would put in tenders
for what the Czech media has described as the contract of the century which
is worth an estimated 500 billion crowns or around 28 billion US dollars.
The contract has already stirred up a lot of lobbying and interest. Some Czech politicians have warned that handing such a big contract to a Russian firm would increase Czech dependency on Moscow. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Martin Barták, said on Sunday that the government could exert enormous influence over who wins the tender. Around two-thirds of ČEZ shares are state-owned.
Václav Novák is a crisis manager. And with the ongoing economic crisis following on the heels of the financial crisis, things have been pretty busy for him. He has been in the headlines a lot recently after being bombarded into a top position at state-controlled carrier Czech Airlines (ČSA) and then suddenly stepping down. But he has a long line of Czech companies that he has pulled back from the brink, including steel making giant Vítkovice. I met him in his central Prague office and asked him if he was surprised by the government decision not
Czech electricity giant ČEZ closed offers at midday on Friday for a massive contract to build two new nuclear reactors at its existing Temelín facility in the Czech Republic with the option of building a further three at other sites in Europe. The company is said to have received several dozen offers for what has been described by local media as the energy contract of the century. The offers will now be examined with those who make the grade to continue in the tender likely to be declared in January, he added. A contract winner could be declared in 2011 with construction estimated at around 10 years. ČEZ did not set out concrete specification for the reactors saying that would tilt the tender in favour of one company or another.
Another issue for the Czech Republic at the summit is a deal framing future EU supervision of the financial sector. The Czech National Bank earlier this year came out against draft plans for this new supervision saying they were muddled and infringed on national regulation. The new rules are aimed at preventing a repeat of the financial meltdown that led to the world economic crisis. The Czech government has warned that it is prepared to fight on this issue. It said on Wednesday that its priority is for a high quality rather than a quick deal on financial regulation.
Austrian courts do not have jurisdiction over the Temelín nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic, the European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday. That verdict came in response to a complaint against Temelín’s operators ČEZ filed by the Upper Austrian regional authority at an Austrian court. It said Temelín was guilty of causing damage to farm land at a school owned by Upper Austria in the vicinity of the nuclear station. The Austrian court then asked the European Court of Justice to consider whether it was obliged to respect a permit issued to Temelín by authorities in the Czech Republic. The nuclear power station, which is situated close to the Austrian border, has for several years been a source of tension between the two countries.
The troubled national carrier Czech Airlines will remain in state hands, at least for the time being. After weeks of speculation, the Czech government on Monday refused a sole bid it had received in a tender from the Czech-Icelandic consortium of Unimex and Travel Service. It based its decision on a recommendation by the Finance Minister Eduard Janota, who said the offer was simply too inconvenient.
In Business News this week: a draft budget for 2010 is approved, while a deficit approved for this year is likely to fall far short of the real deficit; the vice-governor of the Czech National Bank says recovery is likely to bump along rather than rise smoothly; the amount lent in new mortgages falls significantly, while property prices seem to have hit bottom; and the Czech Republic lags behind in terms of percentage of women in senior management.
The Czech Supreme Administrative Court has complied with a complaint lodged by environmentalists to whom the power company CEZ refused to disclose information on the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia. The court ruled that as a public institution the state-controlled energy giant was bound by law to provide the respective information. The civic group had requested safety related information and the results of an analysis of fuel supplied by the firm Westinghouse.
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