Participants in the tender for the completion of the Dukovany and Temelín nuclear power plants at the JÁDRO conference presented both their vision of the project and their company or the history of nuclear technology in their country. Each of the participants primarily emphasized the experience their company has with nuclear energy and what their project can offer the Czech Republic.
Three companies have long-term interest in the order, which could be the largest investment in the history of the Czech Republic: French EDF, American Westinghouse and South Korean Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP). All three submitted a preliminary project proposal last year. Companies can now submit final bids for the tender until the end of the month, the original deadline was the second of October. The Russian company Rosatom was also in the game for a while, but the government removed it from the tender in the spring of 2021. The contract with the winner of the tender is to be signed at the end of 2024, and the new reactor in Dukovany is to be completed in 2036.
All three companies have experience in nuclear power, both Westinghouse and EDF have several projects in Europe, while KHNP, which is new to the European market, has built for example in the United Arab Emirates.
Local companies and technology ownership are important
“Let me assure you that our proposal is extraordinary in a number of ways. First of all, our offer is completely independent and 100% European. EDF is the full owner of the EPR technology and has full control over it. Nobody can attack us,” Vakisasai Ramany, vice president of the French company EDF, said at the conference, taking a dig at his rivals. Westinghouse and KNHP are currently in a legal dispute over nuclear technology.
Three applicants for Dukovany
Three companies are currently interested in the construction of a new nuclear unit in Dukovany: the American-Canadian Westinghouse, the Korean KHNP and the French EDF.
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“This is a guarantee of access to the technology, related services and of course the required fuel for the entire life cycle of the EPR 1200 reactor,” added Ramany. According to him, EDF’s offer is highly valuable for the Czech economy and industry.
According to Petr Brzezina, president of Westinghouse Czech Republic, the main strength of his company is its long history of operations in the Czech Republic. The company has been operating on the local market since 1991 and, according to Brzezina, it has partners here and is well acquainted with local companies.
“Recently, we signed contracts with ČEZ for the possible supply of fuel for both Dukovany and Temelín,” said Brzezina, adding that if the company wins the tender, it is ready to massively cooperate with the Czech industry.
Min Hwan Chang, who represents the KHNP company in Prague, emphasized above all the importance of nuclear energy for the economy, which he illustrated using the example of South Korea or relations with Czech companies.
How to proceed with the tender for Dukovany
The Czech government faces a difficult choice between allied applicants for the construction of a new block in Dukovany. It is not only a clash of technologies, but also a geopolitical choice.
“We founded the Prague branch in 2019, since then we have communicated as intensively as possible with local companies, we have had a lot of meetings and negotiations. In addition, since 2020, we have expanded the team working on the tender, which now has almost 200 people working in Korea,” Chang commented on the situation.
All three representatives agreed that the power plant should be fully completed, meaning that not only reactors would be built in Dukovany, but also in Temelín. This possibility was discussed at the beginning of September, when Nauzal obtained access to a document from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
According to the Ministry’s material, two blocks should be built first in Dukovany and then two in Temelín. The company that wins the Dukovany competition this fall could become the supplier of all reactors. The state would exercise an option in the contract for this giant contract. The four blocks under consideration should cost approximately 1.75 trillion crowns, making it the largest investment in the history of the Czech Republic.