William Malcolm

CEZ Begins Security Assessment For Dukovany Tender

Elektrárna Dukovany II from the ČEZ Group started safety assessments of the three remaining companies bidding to build a new nuclear unit at the Dukovany power plant. The French company EdF, the American Westinghouse, and the South Korean company KHNP were contacted. As expected, the Russian company Rosatom and the Chinese company CGN did not receive the safety questionnaire, which the Czech government decided not to invite to the planned tender.

Kříž stated that all relevant information on security issues will be submitted by ČEZ applicants by the end of November this year, and the government will then decide which candidates will be invited to the tender. The deadline is only after the October elections to the Chamber of Deputies. According to the spokesperson, the security assessment aims to evaluate all potential suppliers and obtain the information needed to ensure security interests.

“It is mainly about clarifying the ownership structure, supply chain, ties of the entities concerned with the state, problems with project implementation, allegations and other problems in nuclear power projects, technology transfer and know-how and more,” said Kříž. He added that to answer the questions in the security assessment, potential candidates will also receive complete preliminary documentation, which, according to him, will, among other things, help speed up the subsequent processing of tenders of those candidates who will finally be invited to the competition.

The planned construction of a new Dukovany bloc has been one of the central themes of the Czech political scene in recent months. The possible participation of Rosatom and the Chinese CGN has long been criticized by some opposition experts and some security experts. The Ministry of Industry and Trade announced its intention not to invite the Chinese side to the tender at the end of March. The Russian Rosatom was then excluded from the tender in mid-April. It did so in response to information on the share of the Russian secret service in the explosions in the ammunition complex in Vrbětice in the Zlín region in 2014.

Safety guarantees for the construction should also be enshrined in legislation. Last week, the Chamber of Deputies decided that it will be possible to use only technology from suppliers from countries that have acceded to the international agreement on government procurement for the construction of the unit. Russia and China are not among these countries. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry Karel Havlíček agreed with the amendment.

Thanks to this agreement on the enactment of security guarantees, the opposition stopped blocking the approval of a standard on measures for the Czech Republic’s transition to low-carbon energy after six months, which concerns the financing of the completion of the Dukovany power plant. The law, which the lower house has been discussing since last June, is to take effect in January 2022. According to Havlíček’s agreement with the opposition, security guarantees were to be incorporated into the law by the Senate.

The new nuclear unit in Dukovany will probably be fully financed by the state. At current prices, according to earlier information, it should cost about six billion euros (approximately 162 billion crowns), but some experts warn that the price will be higher. According to environmental organizations, nuclear energy is completely uncompetitive.