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CEZ Rejects Areva’s Appeal in $10 Billion Czech Nuclear Tender

CEZ AS rejected Areva SA’s appeal in a $10 billion tender to build units at a Czech nuclear power plant, saying the French company’s bid hasn’t fulfilled legal and commercial requirements.

Areva, the world’s largest supplier of nuclear fuel, called the decision “baseless” and said it will file an appeal to the Czech anti-monopoly office, according to an e-mailed statement today. CEZ won’t further comment on the tender until the possible appeal is finalized, spokesman Ladislav Kriz said in a separate statement.

The Czech utility, which plans to choose a builder for units 3 and 4 of the Temelin plant by the middle of next year, excluded Paris-based Areva from the tender on Oct. 5. CEZ’s decision to reject Areva’s appeal is a setback for Chief Executive Officer Luc Oursel, who said last December he’s hoping to get orders for 10 of the company’s EPR reactors by the end of 2016.

“I deeply regret that Areva is penalized based on matters that have never been discussed between the parties before, without any dialogue or clarification process,” Oursel said in the statement. “Areva’s offer meets the highest level of quality in terms of technical and performance capabilities.”

Legal Actions

Areva will take all legal actions available under Czech and European Union laws to return to the tender, it said. The other two bidders, Westinghouse Electric Corp. and a Russian-Czech consortium led by Rosatom Corp.’s unit ZAO Atomstroyexport, are still competing for the Temelin project.

CEZ is Europe’s only utility with an atomic project out to bid. The final contract for the Temelin tender must be signed before the end of 2013, the Prague-based CEZ said.

The utility has started drawing up a list of potential financial partners for the project, whose cost has been estimated at $10 billion by analysts and some investors. CEZ may hold a separate tender for an investor after the supplier is chosen, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Benes said in July.

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