Westinghouse bolsters Czech capabilities

29 July 2013

Vitkovice Power Engineering will produce a mock-up of an AP1000 plant sub-module in the latest of a series of agreements that Westinghouse has signed with Czech companies as it seeks to build two new reactors at Temelin.

Westinghouse has contracted with Vitkovice Power Engineering, part of the Vitkovice Machinery Group, to construct a mock-up of part of the larger CA-20 module. This module is comprised of 72 sub-modules, weighing a total of some 900 tonnes, and contains the area within the plant that will accommodate used fuel. Construction of the sub-module is expected to be completed in early 2014.

Westinghouse president and CEO Danny Roderick said, "This demonstration project marks a further important milestone in Westinghouse's ongoing activities to develop local partners and deliver a highly competitive tender to CEZ for the construction of two AP1000 reactors at the Temelin site."

Recent tie-ups

In February, Westinghouse, Toshiba and Metrostav signed MOUs with Czech engineering companies UJV Rez, Skoda Praha Invest and Kralovopolska. These agreements, it said, "constitute a major part of the engineering work to meet national and local requirements" should Westinghouse be awarded the contract for the new Temelin units.

Local appointment

Last month, Westinghouse appointed Pavel Janik as its managing director in the Czech Republic. He most recently served as chairman for CEZ Bohunice. In addition to leading the company's operations in the country, Janik also became president of Westinghouse Czech Republic in this newly-created position. In addition, he will be engaged in all commercial negotiations, including the tender for Temelin units 3 and 4.

Under these MOUs, UJV's Energoprojekt Praha division would provide Westinghouse with support in the Temelin project, including assistance with local codes and standards, regulations and laws, as well as support in designing buildings, preparation of documentation and technical licensing assistance. Skoda Praha Invest would offer support during construction, start-up and commissioning while Kralovopolska would assist in design criteria documentation.

Westinghouse and Toshiba also signed MOUs with Czech steel companies Excon Steel and Modrany Power in January that will cover both the raw production and fabricated steel products used in AP1000 plants. Westinghouse said it will source some 80,000 tonnes of steel and steel components from Czech companies for the two new Temelin units if it wins the tender. The company already has agreements with Czech partners Metrostav and Vitkovice for the supply of the majority of these products.

Final decision delayed

Czech utility CEZ, which is 70% state owned, launched the tender process for the new Temelin units in August 2009. In June 2012, bids were submitted by three candidates - Areva; a consortium between Škoda JS, AtomStroyExport and OKB Gidropress; and Westinghouse. However, in October CEZ told Areva that its bid had been disqualified. Areva subsequently lodged a petition with the Czech anti-monopoly office, which has now reportedly rejected that appeal.

CEZ expected to select the reactor supplier in September and sign the construction contract by the end of 2013. However, the signing of the contract could now be delayed by up to 18 months.

Czech prime minister Petr Nečas resigned in mid-June following a bribery and spying scandal which led to the arrest of his chief-of-staff. A new government has now been formed. Earlier this month CEZ said that it continues in "intensive negotiations" with Westinghouse and the AtomStroyExport-led consortium and that "a number of open questions" still remain.

A CEZ spokeswoman told World Nuclear News that the second round of negotiations will continue until late September or early October. Meanwhile, the company must also complete discussions with the new government on energy strategy and power purchase prices before a final investment decision is made. These discussions could take a further 12 to 18 months to complete, she noted.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News