AP1000 and VVER-1200 Reference Plant Delays Threaten Czech Nuclear Project

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Czech official overseeing reactor selection for new units at the Temelin nuclear plant has expressed disappointment in construction delays for two reactors that serve as reference plants for the competing bids.

According to company officials, the first Westinghouse AP1000 under construction in Sanmen, China, is nine months behind schedule and will be completed late next year, while Rosatom's VVER-1200 reactor under construction near St. Petersburg is now expected to come online in 2015, two years behind schedule.

Vaclav Bartuska told the Journal he remains committed to nuclear as a cost-effective alternative to fossil generation. Nonetheless, he said Westinghouse and Rosatom "must be able to show that they can deliver” by putting their reactors into service.

The delays could complicate Czech utility CEZ's bid selection, currently scheduled for September. Bartuska's comments also follow the dissolution of the Czech government that supported the project. Construction is subject to parliamentary approval, but a new, non-caretaker government might not be formed until next year.

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