Petr Dubinsky

Dukovany Tender Delayed Over Security Concerns

The tender for the new nuclear unit in Dukovany will be delayed until the end of the year as politicians decide whether to allow Russian and Chinese bidders to participate due to security concerns. Today, the Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy discussed with the opposition four possible options, which will be addressed by the heads of parliamentary parties by the end of January and then decided. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Transport Karel Havlíček said after the meeting. The state-owned company ČEZ, which will be the investor in the construction, stated that it is ready to start the tender. The company is waiting for the decision of the government, which will address the applicants. Experts welcome that Havlíček wants an agreement on the Dukovany tender with the opposition. They point out that not all applicants can meet the technical parameters.

According to Havlíček, the options considered include a scenario in which all five current bidders will be invited to the tender. The second option is to invite three bidders without Russia and China.

Another option is the so-called 3 + 2 model. Russia and China could participate in supplier consortia but would not be leaders, and the remaining members would be from the European Union and NATO. The fourth option is to postpone the selection procedure until after the parliamentary elections next year.

Havlíček himself described the 3 + 2 model as the most acceptable. “It is a variant where we would not pour out a bath with the child, we would secure a competitive tender, we would be able to reduce the price and at the same time protect the security interests of the state,” he told ČTK. Part of the opposition criticizes the possible participation of Russia and China in the tender. He argues, among other things, about security aspects.

According to Havlíček, this scenario is a possible compromise. “Economically, of course, the simplest option is number 1, to release all five. But suppose I perceive that several parliamentary parties have a different opinion and do not want the whole government to fall when there is another government. In that case, we are trying today to find a compromise option,” he added.

According to the available information, the possible bidders of the Dukovany tender are the Russian Rosatom, the Chinese company CGN, the North American company Westinghouse, the French EdF, and the South Korean company KHNP. According to Havlíček, the tender is 90 percent prepared from a technical and commercial point of view. CEZ previously stated that it was ready to list it by the end of this year. According to Havlíček, the security requirements of the state are currently being built into the tender.

“Everything is ready on our part, we have incorporated the comments, and we are prepared to start the tender for the new nuclear unit in Dukovany. Ladislav Kříž.

According to him, the company considers it essential that the tender is not postponed for longer than the necessary time from the point of view of energy security. “This could have a serious impact on the fulfillment of European climate goals, which are constantly being tightened, and the future provision of sufficient electricity for the Czech economy and citizens would be endangered,” the spokesman added.

According to Havlíček, the nuclear committee did not consider the four options today after the discussion. “There were different opinions. The consensus was absolutely that, because it is a political decision, the heads of parliamentary parties will meet on it by the end of January 2021. Subsequently, one of those options will be decided,” he said.

This year, the Czech government approved a model for financing a new nuclear unit in Dukovany in the Třebíč region for approximately six billion euros. The state and CEZ concluded contracts for the planned new Dukovany bloc at the end of July. In addition to the umbrella agreement, Havlíček and CEZ CEO Daniel Beneš also signed an agreement that defines the zoning permit for the construction site and sets the dates for selecting the construction contractor. At that time, Beneš said that the company would like the order of applicants to construct a new unit at the end of 2022. The state should participate in the construction with 70 percent. ČEZ should pay the remaining 30 percent.

At the beginning of December, representatives of municipalities and companies in the Třebíč region stated in a call published on the website of the Energetické Třebíčsko association that they did not know from the available information the only reason to postpone the announcement of the tender. The association has long supported the construction of the new unit.