PRAGUE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The Czech government will set the parameters of a tender to build new nuclear reactors for power group CEZ CEZPsp.PR and give the deal “meticulous” scrutiny, the finance minister was quoted on Saturday as saying . The tender for the construction of two nuclear reactors at CEZ’s Temelin power plant with an option for the utility to order up to three more nuclear reactors at other stations is expected to be the country’s biggest ever procurement deal. Analysts have estimated the price tag for the entire project at 500 billion crowns ($28.28 billion), about half of the country’s state budget.
Finance Minister Eduard Janota told Lidove Noviny in an interview security and strategic interests would play a significant role in the tender.
“The deal will be under very meticulous government scrutiny. It will not be a CEZ management matter,” the daily quoted him as saying.
Three companies have placed preliminary bids, including Russia’s Atomstroyexport.
The Czech Republic, a former communist bloc nation, has in general been wary about Russian involvement in Czech industries, especially ones that are considered strategic.
Earlier this year, the government excluded Russia’s Aeroflot (AFLT.MM) from a tender for Czech Airlines (CSA), citing security reasons, among others.
Janota said the government may use a proceeding similar to the CSA tender. “The government will give, in the first round, clear basic criteria including security and strategic interests,” Lidove Noviny quoted him as saying.
“That way it will prevent a situation that some companies get to the next round where the price (criterion) would be decisive.”
He said that “hypothetically” a victory of the Russian bidder may be undesirable due to energy security and excessive energy dependence of the country on Russia. Russia is the dominant supplier of gas and oil in the ex-communist central and eastern Europe.
The other two bidders in the tender are Westinghouse Electric, a unit of Toshiba Corp (6502.T) and France’s Areva CEPFi.PA.
(Reporting by Jana Mlcochova, editing by Mike Peacock)
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