* CEZ says three bidders for nuclear tender
* Project seen completed in 15 years
By Jan Korselt (adds details, background, byline)
PRAGUE, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Three companies have placed preliminary bids to build upto five nuclear reactors for Czech power firm CEZ CEZPsp.PR, CEZ said on Tuesday, in what is expected to be the country’s biggest-ever procurement deal.
CEZ Chief Executive Martin Roman confirmed that Russia’s Atomstroyexport, the Westinghouse Electric unit of Toshiba Corp (6502.T) and France’s Areva CEPFi.PA CEPFi.PA were the only bidders.
“We can confirm that no one else has bid apart from firms that declared they would bid,” Roman said.
CEZ is expected to receive final bids toward the end of 2010 with a decision in late 2011 for the deal, which analysts say may be worth around 500 billion crowns ($27.93 billion).
In August, CEZ launched a tender for the construction of two nuclear reactor units at its Temelin power plant with an option to order upto three more nuclear units.
Analysts expect CEZ to build one of those blocks at its nuclear plant in Dukovany in the eastern part of the country and the other two in neighboring Slovakia’s Jaslovske Bohunice power plant.
But some politicians have warned that awarding a deal to Atomstroyexport pose an energy security risk for the former communist bloc nation.
In central, eastern, and southeastern Europe, a number of countries are eyeing plans to build new reactors or to extend the lives of existing ones to meet growing demand and replace ageing power capacity.
CEZ has predicted the new units would be built in about 15 years, following an administrative process lasting about seven to eight years.
CEZ already runs two units at Temelin with combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts, along with four 440-500 megawatt units at the Dukovany nuclear plant in the east of the country.
The power group produced 26.6 terrawatt hours of nuclear power in 2008, while its coal plants produced 35.9 TWh of its total 64 TWh output that year. (Reporting by Jan Korselt, writing by Jan Lopatka and Michael Kahn, Editing by David Cowell)