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Babis, Havlicek meet Levy, head of Dukovany tender bidder EDF

22. 11. 2020

Prague, Nov (CTK) - Czech PM Andrej Babis and Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek held on Friday a meeting with Jean-Bernard Levy, CEO of French firm EDF, which is one of the bidders in a tender to build a new unit at nuclear power plant Dukovany, SeznamZpravy.cz has reported.

Babis and Havlicek confirmed to the server the unannounced meeting with Levy had taken place.

Referring to available information, the server said Babis has not held a similar meeting with any of the bidders' chief executives so far.

According to Daniel Benes, CEO of energy group CEZ, Dukovany's operator, CEZ plans to call a EUR6bn (about Kc158bn) tender for building Dukovany's unit in December this year.

Apart from EDF, other bidders are Rosatom of Russia, China General Nuclear Power, US firm Westinghouse and South Korea's Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP).

"It was a courtesy meeting," Babis told the server, adding Levy expressed interest in meeting the PM and the minister.

"The topics were nuclear energy, renewable energy sources and the EU's energy mix," Babis told SeznamZpravy.cz.

The meeting was also attended by Jaroslav Mil, government envoy for nuclear energy, said Babis.

No official information was released before or after the meeting.

Alexis Dutertre, the French ambassador in Czechia, told the server the meeting focused on the role of nuclear energy in Europe in regard to the transition to a low-carbon economy and climate targets, and also on energy autonomy challenges relating to the project of a new small modular reactor in Dukovany.

Levy also held talks with Benes, according to the French side.

SeznamZpravy.cz said EDF might take part in the Dukovany tender in a consortium with Rosatom. The firms are cooperating on the project of the Hungarian plant Paks.

Cooperation with Russia and China has long been backed by President Milos Zeman. Citing security reasons, part of the opposition wants the Russian and Chinese firms to be excluded from the pending tender process.

In July, the government adopted a model of financing the new unit at Dukovany.

Benes said earlier he would like to know the bidders' ranking in the tender at the end of 2022.

According to Babis, a winner of the tender will be picked by a cabinet to emerge from a parliamentary election to take place in Czechia in 2021.

vr/er