The Czech Republic Will Not Sign An Agreement With The United States On The Development Of Nuclear Energy
The Czech Republic will not sign agreements with America on the development of nuclear energy during the ongoing visit of US Secretary of state Michael Pompeo to the Republic, so as not to create favorable conditions for Westinghouse in the upcoming tender for the construction of a new power unit of the Dukovany NPP (South-East of the Czech Republic), according to the Prague newspaper DenikN.
According to the publication, the American side wanted to sign this document on Wednesday, when Pompeo is holding talks with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and President of the Republic Milos Zeman.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Babiš said that he expected the American side to discuss the construction of new power units at Czech nuclear power plants. According to him, he understands "that the US would be happy to get some preferred position" in the field of peaceful nuclear power in the Czech Republic, but, the Prime Minister stressed, the tender for the construction of new power units in the Republic should be "transparent and objective."
The US State Department on Thursday, according to Czech media, informed that at meetings with the President and Prime Minister, the American politician intends to raise the issue of the Republic's dependence on energy supplies from the Russian Federation. The media do not rule out the possibility that Pompeo will lobby the interests of Westinghouse before the upcoming tender for the construction of a new power unit of the Dukovany NPP.
Plans for the construction of the power unit
The Czech government in June last year decided to start implementing the project for the construction of a new power unit of the Dukovany NPP. Its capacity will be 1,200 MW. The selection of the supplier company, as it was stressed at the time, will take place before 2024.
The construction of the new power unit should begin in 2029 and be completed in 2036. The construction tender is estimated at 140-160 billion crowns (about $5.9-6.4 billion). This power unit will replace one of the four existing ones at the Dukovany NPP, which were built in 1985-1987. The remaining ones will work until 2045-2047. The station now provides 20% of energy consumption in the Czech Republic.
The Russian State Corporation Rosatom, Westinghouse, China's China General Nuclear Power, France's EDF, South Korea's KHNP, and the French-Japanese joint venture Mitsubishi Atmea announced their intention to participate in the tender in early 2018. The main criteria for determining the winner, as emphasized in Prague, will be the cost of construction, safety, and technological capabilities of the proposed projects. Besides, the government will take into account the geopolitical interests of the Republic.