The Czech and Slovak foreign ministers Karel Schwarzenberg and Miroslav Lajcak, met for talks in Prague on Thursday on the side-lines of a conference marking “Twenty Years of Independent Czech and Slovak Diplomacy“. Twenty years after the break-up of Czechoslovakia the ministers described bilateral relations as “above-standard and problem-free”. The two neighbour states cooperate closely in many areas such as coordinated infrastructure projects. Both are also strong advocates of nuclear power. Every year they hold joint government-sessions focussing on bilateral relations, trade and common goals.
The Czech state-controlled energy giant ČEZ is looking at bids in one of the biggest investment projects in Czech history – the construction of two new blocks at the Temelín nuclear power plant. However, dropping electricity prices have raised questions over the project’s long-term profitability. To ensure the 300- or-so-billion-crowns investment pays back, the Czech government is now considering introducing fixed electricity prices. More
Earlier this month, construction began on a new four-floor centre in the city of Ostrava that will house the first Czech supercomputer. The site, which will house hundreds of processors and will employ between 150 and 250 staff, will have massive computing power capable of complex simulations in breakthrough fields such as nanotechnology. It is expected to begin full operation in 2015. More
The French company Areva that was excluded from a public tender for the expansion of the nuclear power plant Temelín has again received a negative response from the Office for the Protection of Competition to their request to suspend the tender. Areva was excluded last October by the state-owned energy company ČEZ from the tender competition because the company allegedly failed to meet the criteria. Areva has denied the claims and has twice requested for the tender to be suspended and re-evaluated. ČEZ is currently choosing between the Japanese-American Westinghouse and the Czecho-Russian Consortium MIR.1200.
In Business News this week: Czech government approves savings measures of 8.6 billion crowns; a new pipeline opens providing alternate route for Russian gas; car maker Škoda Auto posts record sales; most Czech joint-stock companies are anonymously owned; Budvar wins major trademark battle in UK. More
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has rejected as unfounded safety concerns over the planned completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant saying the country fully adheres to all international safety norms. In an interview for the Austrian magazine Profil, Mr. Schwarzenberg said the Czech Republic would not backtrack on its plans to build two more nuclear reactors at Temelin. He dismissed safety concerns stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster as irrelevant saying that the last tsunami the Czech lands experienced would have been about 500 million years ago and it was unlikely to occur for several thousand more years.
Interest in precious metals and stones in the Czech Republic, is reaching new highs, either for personal use, in the form of jewellery, but in the form of bullion as an investment. Czechs this year alone, for example, spent more than three billion crowns on gold bars, even though the price of the precious metal has almost doubled over the last two years. More
France's Areva is aiming to continue its fight to be included in a lucrative tender for the completion of the Czech Republic’s Temelín nuclear power plant, Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes reports. According to the daily, the firm sees the manner in which it was excluded from the tender as problematic and far from standard procedure. Areva representatives say the price offered by the firm was in order and stress the company will push its case even at the highest instance court. Thomas Epron, Areva's regional head for Central Europe, said the French company had provided guarantees in supplied documentation that the final price of Temelín´s expansion would not exceed a certain level and the cost of the project, between 200 and 300 billion crowns, would not see manifold growth. ČEZ spokesman Ladislav Kříž told the paper that Areva´s bid had failed to meet defined criteria on a number of points.
Mladá Boleslav-based carmaker Škoda Auto began serial production of the third generation Octavia on Monday, the most important model in the company’s line-up. Production capacity has been raised from 800 to 1,200 vehicles a day. The new sedan is meant to improve brand recognition abroad, the carmaker said, and is expected to follow the success of the previous models. Octavia is Skoda’s best seller, representing 44 percent of global sales, for example, in the first 11 months of this year. The redesigned vehicle will be released onto the European market at the end of January.
The car maker Škoda Auto has unveiled a third-generation Octavia model. The company claims the new Octavia hatchback is longer and wider than its predecessor providing more interior space and an engine starting at 1.4TSI. The new Octavia is to be shown at the Geneva international motor show show and will go on sale in March of next year. Škoda Auto is hoping to sell more than 500,000 Octavia models a year making it one of the ten top-selling cars in the world.