Czech utility ÄŒEZ on Wednesday told AREVA that a bid submitted to build two new EPR units at the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant—a site that already houses two VVER-1000 reactors built in 2000 and 2003—has been disqualified because it failed to fulfill “some other crucial criteria” defined in the tender. The decision, which AREVA said it would appeal, means only Westinghouse and an AtomStroyExport-led consortium remain as contenders for that project contract.

ÄŒEZ opened bids for the public contract for completing the Temelín expansion on July 3 and received three bids, one from AREVA for two EPRs, one from Westinghouse for two AP1000s, and one from a consortium consisting of Atomstroyexport, ŠKODA JS, and Gidropress for Gidopress’ MIR-1200 third-generation VVER model. ÄŒEZ is expected to make its final decision in late 2013. Active commissioning of the reactors is tentatively slated for between 2020 and 2025.

But on Wednesday, ÄŒEZ said that since the award procedure had been conducted in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, "Areva’s bid had to be excluded from further evaluation." The reasons for excluding their bid were both commercial and legislative in nature.

"Since the bidder has a right to object to this decision, the public may be informed about the specific reasons only when all options for potential appeals have been used so that the award procedure is conducted in a correct and fair manner," said CEZ spokesperson Ladislav KÅ™íž. "Other bidders have not yet been found to have failed to fulfill the awarding entity’s requirements."

In a statement on Wednesday, AREVA said it was "determined to understand the reasons for this announcement. AREVA firmly believes it has met all the tender criteria." The company said its commitment to the Temelín project remains "absolute."

AREVA’s EPR reactor has already been licensed in Finland and France and is undergoing licensing in the U.S. and the UK. Four EPRs are meanwhile under construction in France, China, and Finland. The EPR under construction at Flamanville in France is expected to be completed in 2016. AREVA in September announced that a project to build two EPRs at the Taishan nuclear power station in China recently fit the dome of the second reactor building, an operation that marks the end of major civil engineering work on the reactor buildings.

Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) on Oct. 1 submitted a claim in arbitration proceedings at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that says costs and losses incurred as a result of delays at the Olkiluoto 3 plant total about €1.8 billion ($2.3 billion). The utility and an AREVA-Siemens consortium that is building that EPR project on a fixed-price turnkey contract are engaged in a bitter, long-running dispute concerning who is responsible for the cost overruns.

The consortium had initiated the arbitration process before the ICC in December 2008, seeking around €1.9 billion from TVO for costs and losses incurred during construction of Olkiluoto 3. Construction of the project, which had been hailed as one of world’s first EPR plants, began in 2005 and was scheduled to be completed in 2009, but late last year, TVO announced the reactor wouldn’t be grid-ready until at least 2014. Initial estimated costs for the projects were about €3 billion ($3.9 billion).

Sources: POWERnews, CEZ, AREVA, TVO

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)