Russian bidder for Czech nuclear tender rules out Areva link

PRAGUE, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The Russian bidder for the contract to enlarge Czech CEZ's Temelin nuclear power plant on Wednesday ruled out linking its bid with French company Areva , which was disqualified from the tender last week.

Media had reported that Rosatom, helping to lead a Russian-Czech consortium, could partner Areva in the tender that will at least double the 2,000 MW plant's size and is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion.

CEZ announced it had thrown out the French group's bid on Friday for not meeting "crucial requirements". The Czech utility declined to detail reasons for the disqualification.

Areva's exit leaves Toshiba's U.S. unit Westinghouse and Russia's Atomstroyexport, a Rosatom unit, as the only bidders, pending an appeal by the French group.

"It is not even legally possible, because the conditions of the tender do not allow cooperation with the individual bidders," said Kirill Komarov, deputy director general of Rosatom, told reporters.

Komarov said Atomstroyexport could possibly use Areva as a subcontractor later, but he added that option would be "highly hypothetical", as the suppliers list is a part of the bid, making changes difficult.

The Czech nuclear energy push has run into opposition from neighbouring Austria and Germany, but is the cornerstone of a government drive to secure its energy future.

Russia is already a major oil, gas and nuclear fuel supplier for the ex-Soviet nation of 10.5 million, giving CEZ a stark choice between east and west in the tender. A winner should be picked by the end of next year.

Temelin, the biggest energy source in a country where nuclear power meets a third of annual electricity needs, consists of two Russian-type units that were refurbished with Westinghouse technology before first going into operation in 2000 and 2003.

The units are run with Russian fuel after switching from U.S. fuel.

(Reporting by Jan Korselt, editing by William Hardy)

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