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Holtec to go to court over Paks tender

US-based Holtec International is taking a case to court regarding a public procurement tender invited in preparation to build and supply equipment for a temporary storage facility for spent fuel rods from Hungary's Paks nuclear reactor, David Wilkes, Holtec's representative in Europe said in Budapest on Wednesday.

Project company Radioactive Waste Management Kht (RHK) announced a tender to secure permits for the third stage of construction of the facility in 2005. Holtec offered Ft 250 million in the tender. However, the implied value of the tender was much more, because the winner stood a good chance of winning another tender to be called to carry out construction of the facility, observers noted. Holtec could have bid in the tender to build the facility with its subsidiary US Tool and Die and would have expected an additional $4 million-$5 million of revenue a year if it were declared the winner. Holtec's offer was disqualified, because RHK said it failed to meet safety standards. The winner of the tender was declared Transelektro Rt, which offered to supply GNS technology with a Ft 350 million bid. Holtec appealed the decision to Hungary's Public Procurement Arbitration Board (KDB), which ruled in Holtec's favor at the end of 2005. The board also fined RHK Ft 3 million for administrative errors.

Holtec has filed another case challenging Transelektro's references in the tender, and will call for the contract between Transelektro and RHK to be cancelled and its own costs related to the tender to be refunded. Holtec claims it indeed meets Hungarian safety requirements. The first phase of the construction of the temporary storage facility has already been completed, and the second phase will be finished in 2007. In both phases, technology used by the UK's Alstec was used. The first two parts of the project are being completed at a cost of tens of billions of forints.