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Conference: Czech Politicians Show Support for Nuclear Power: Perspectives

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September 30, 2021

Representatives of the main political parties running for the next Czech parliamentary elections have agreed that the country needs nuclear energy in its future energy mix, Tomáš Kovalovský, chairman of the Czech Nuclear Association, and Tomáš Měřínský, chairman of Sekurkon, write in an overview of the Nuclear energy – New nuclear constructions conference, held on September 23 in Prague.

Conference participants (Image: Czech Nuclear Association)

The conference was prepared in cooperation with the Association of Building Contractors (SPS), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO) and the Czech Power Industry Alliance (CPIA). The conference organizer was Sekurkon agency, sro

The event brought together representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the ČEZ power company, the Řež Nuclear Research Institute, the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, the academic community and potential suppliers of the new nuclear unit at the existing Dukovany plant. The event was also attended by members of the public and the media.

Tomáš Ehler, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade for Nuclear Power, said building just one new nuclear unit in Dukovany will not be enough to meet Czech commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse, even if the share of renewable energies in the energy mix continues. to grow after the dismantling of the country’s coal-fired power plants. It will be necessary to build at least one more nuclear unit in Dukovany and two more units in Temelín, he said. However, the question is whether the government, which is the majority owner of ÄŒEZ, will be able to assert its will and persuade the company’s board of directors to approve the preparation of these additional new nuclear units. .

Tomáš Pleskač, board member of ČEZ, said that in the long term, ČEZ plans to commission a single new nuclear unit in Dukovany and commission 6,000 MW in solar power plants to replace the output of the decommissioned coal-fired power stations. The company will analyze the possible deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) and, after their commercialization in the late 2030s, is considering building SMRs with a combined capacity of around 1,000 MW.

Pleskač said he believes that the operational lifespan of Dukovany’s VVER-440 units will be successfully extended to 60 years, i.e. until 2045-2047, without the need for replacement. steam generators. He added that if that is not feasible, there is a “plan B” to build gas-fired power plants.

Representatives of research institutes, the academic community and the Czech Technology Agency have already expressed their readiness to participate fully in the project to develop new nuclear capacities in the Czech Republic.

The same attitude echoed in the panel discussions organized by the Association of Building Contractors and the Czech Alliance of the Electrical Industry. The terms and conditions negotiated between ÄŒEZ (the customer and owner of the nuclear project) and the future supplier (the winner of the tender) will be of the utmost importance for the application of the proposed EPC Flexi model and the implication of Czech industry and construction. sector in the implementation of new nuclear projects.

For Czech companies it is very important that the offer and the subsequent contract with the winner contain an option for a second unit in Dukovany and two units in Temelín. Without such a guarantee, the involvement of many Czech industrial companies in the successful bidder’s supply chain will be threatened as localization is an expensive exercise requiring a lot of money to invest in the necessary quality certifications (such as the ASME code , RCCM code, etc.), as well as on new production equipment. For many businesses, a single unit cannot justify the high costs or deliver the necessary return on investment.

Representatives of EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Westinghouse presented the projects they intend to tender, namely the EPR 1200, the APR-1000 and the AP1000 respectively. Companies are currently working on answering the questions they received in the security forms sent to them by ÄŒEZ as part of the tendering process. The deadline for their responses is the end of November and all three expect the call for tenders to be published soon.

At the last session of the conference, representatives of the main political parties vying for the next parliamentary elections – to be held on 8 and 9 October – discussed the prospects for nuclear energy in the Czech Republic. All the representatives declared that the country needed nuclear energy in its future energy mix in order to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move towards carbon neutrality.

We can only hope that the winners of the parliamentary elections will advocate and defend the nuclear power plants which, together with renewable energies, should ensure the energy security of the Czech Republic in the future and play a decisive role in its journey towards carbon neutrality. .

Tomáš Kovalovský
President of the Czech Nuclear Association

Tomáš Měřínský
President of Sekurkon