The planned new reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power plant in south
Moravia should be built by a subsidiary of the ČEZ energy company, prime
minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš said on Thursday. The power
giant ČEZ, which is 70 percent state-owned, operates both the Dukovany and
Temelín power plants.
The head of government also said his cabinet was convinced that the new reactor would pay off. ČEZ conditioned the construction of the new reactor by an electricity price guarantee from the government, but the demand has so far not been met.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has confirmed that the government may put off a decision on how to fund new nuclear reactors for the power utility ČEZ by extending the lifespan of the Dukovany power plant by ten years. The news has brought a cautious response from ČEZ and criticism from the opposition benches.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says the service life of the
Dukovany nuclear power plant could be extended by a decade. That would cost
CZK 20 billion, compared to building a new nuclear unit, which would cost
around 10 times that amount, he said.
Dukovany was previously expected to keep operating until 2035. Keeping it running for another 10 years would mean the Czech government would not have to decide now on how to fund the expansion of nuclear plants operated by state-controlled company CEZ.
CEZ is reluctant to launch a tender without state guarantees for the massive investments. However, Mr. Babiš argues that the power giant can handle the project on its own.
The minister of industry and trade, Marta Nováková, was quoted on Tuesday as saying that the government may postpone a decision on whether to force CEZ to construct new reactors at the country’s second nuclear power station, Temelín.
A number of companies are in the running for lucrative contracts to build new nuclear units in the Czech Republic. Now the head of the State Office for Nuclear Safety says that a South Korean firm looks best placed to get the job. Dana Drábová says KHNP currently has the best references in regards to finishing construction on time and on budget.
The management of the Temelin nuclear power plant on Monday reported a
human error in servicing when lightly radioactive water was released into
the wrong reservoir. The water remained in a closed circuit and the
incident did not endanger safety or affect power production, Temelin said
in a statement.
A report was sent to the State Institute for Nuclear Safety and, in line with a bilateral agreement, to the Austrian authorities in Melk.
A decision on the means of financing new nuclear reactors in the Czech
Republic should be made by the end of the year, Trade and Industry Minister
Marta Nováková told journalists on Friday.
At present three options are on the table: creating a new subsidiary of ČEZ with Dukovany and Temelin assets, opening the door to a foreign investor, and splitting ČEZ to transfer its nuclear plants to a state-owned company.
Minister Nováková said that either way, ČEZ would be expected to play a significant role, since the country’s top nuclear experts were there.
The inhabitants of Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou, a village in the Vysočina
region between Bohemia and Moravia, voted overwhelmingly against the
construction of a nuclear waste storage site on their land in a referendum
Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou is one of nine Czech locations being considered by experts for the purposes of a nuclear waste store. About 45 percent of the village’s inhabitants took part in the vote, which makes the referendum valid.
Czech and Slovak government ministers are due in Bratislava Monday to
debate current problems and perspectives for nuclear energy.
The annual two-day European Nuclear Energy Forum alternates between Czech and Slovak capitals and was created by the two nuclear states as a forum for the industry against the backdrop of increasing pressure to close reactors.
This year’s two main themes are safeguarding European nuclear know-how and the prospects for small modular nuclear reactors. Czech industry minister Tomáš Hüner is due to attend.
ČEZ says it sees no obstacle in the Temelín nuclear power plant operating
for 60 years. The state-controlled power company said a technical and
economic investigation found no fundamental safety or technical reason why
the first reactor could not operate until 2060 and the second unit until
2062. The plant in South Bohemia, around 45 kilometres from the Austrian
border, is the biggest single electricity producer in the Czech Republic.
The head of the Czech nuclear regulator, Dana Drábová, warned earlier this year that while there might not be technical problems with a 60-year operating life span for Temelín, stricter EU rules pushed by non-nuclear member states might make this impossible.