PRAGUE (Reuters) -CEZ has received initial bids from France's EDF, South Korea's KHNP, and U.S.-Canadian group Westinghouse to build a new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant, the Czech electricity producer said on Wednesday.
Majority state-owned CEZ, which launched the Dukovany expansion tender in March, said final bids would come in by the end of September 2023.
"We expect the contracts to be finalized in 2024," board member Tomas Pleskac said in a statement.
The 1,200 megawatt-unit should come on line in 2036 and help the country replace current Soviet-designed units at Dukovany that will be eventually decommissioned.
Candidates from China and Russia were excluded on security grounds.
CEZ plans to build three more nuclear units on top of the one now planned at its current Dukovany and Temelin nuclear sites, as the country diversifies away from coal and plans the replacement of current nuclear capacity.
It is also planing to build smaller modular nuclear power plants.
The government has been considering restructuring the 70% state-owned CEZ, the biggest listed firm in Prague with market capitalisation of $18.4 billion, in the coming years, which could lead to the government fully taking over the nuclear projects.
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet, writing by Robert Muller; editing by David Evans)