In Business News: Industry and Trade Minister confirms that Czech Republic will try and further expand nuclear energy production; Rusatom Overseas signs memorandum with potential subcontractors on Temelín; Škoda Auto sees significant increase in sales in foreign markets; One-third of Czechs will be unable to save a single crown a month this year, poll suggests; and Czech nanotechnology firms make mark in Japan.
Industry Minister Martin Kuba has said the country should rely heavily on nuclear power in the coming years. Speaking at the international energy forum in Prague on Thursday the minister said that in addition to expanding the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia and extending the service life of Dukovany in southern Moravia it was necessary to seek a location for a third nuclear power plant. Minister Kuba said his ministry was currently drafting a long-term energy strategy which would count on nuclear power covering over 50 percent of domestic power consumption in the years ahead. He said the country could not support renewable energy sources that do not produce power at a reasonable price.
In this week’s business news: Czech banks are getting ready to sign off on what could be the largest-ever club deal, negotiations between Škoda Auto management and unions continue, the Czech Agrarian Chamber’s president has said that egg prices will stabilize, the cost of fuel has hit a record high and the American coffee retailer Starbucks has opened its first Czech branch outside of Prague.
Two Czech ministers have clashed over how the government should support the country’s exports. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose office has put a lot of effort into promoting Czech businesses abroad, dismissed a new export strategy designed by the Industry and Trade Ministry. In spite of the squabbles, however, the government’s support for exporters is bearing fruit: Czech exports have reached record levels and are a major driving force behind the Czech economic recovery.
The French multinational industrial conglomerate Areva has signed
contracts over future collaboration with 14 Czech companies who would be
its subcontractors in the case that Areva wins the bid for the completion
of a new reactor at the Temelín nuclear plant. Among Areva’s new
partners are the Vítkovice Machinery group, I&C Energo and Schneider
Electric CZ. Other contenders for the Temelín completion bid had signed
similar cooperation agreements in the past months. The tender over the
nuclear power plant completion is in its final phase.
Areva is one of three bidders in the multi-billion tender to build new reactors at the Temelín plant, along with the American Westinghouse and the Russian state enterprise Atomstroiexport. The total cost of the two new reactors for Temelín is estimated to reach roughly 150 billion Czech crowns.
The new Seat Toledo will be produced in Škoda’s Mladá Boleslav plant, in central Bohemia, company spokesman Josef Baláž told the ctk news agency on Friday. The new generation Seat Toledo is to be a sister model of the planned new compact limousine Skoda Rapid. The Seat Toledo is to appear at a car show in Geneva next week. Skoda Rapid is to be presented later this year. With the exception of Citigo, Skoda produces all its models, namely Fabia, Octavia, Superb, Roomster and Yeti, in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic’s supplies of brown coal will only last for another 18 years, according to the industry research institute. According to the annual report of the Brown Coal Research Institute, the reserves amount to 846 million tonnes amid current mining limits. Another five billion tonnes, equal to the total amount mined in the past, is available but inaccessible due to current restrictions and unprofitability. The amount of brown coal that can be mined under current conditions is running out, which mining companies say will impact smaller consumers – households and heating companies – the most. Ecologists fear that raising limits would lead to a new mining boom, however, and say the consumer impact would be mitigated by restricting export. At present some 83% of the country’s brown coal goes to power plants.
While the Czech Republic relies on nuclear power for some 30 percent of its total energy supply, the Radioactive Waste Depository Authority is facing difficulties in finding new locations for depositing nuclear waste. As an incentive for municipalities to agree to geological research on their territory, the state-run authority is now offering mayors millions of crowns. Sarah Borufka has the details.