Petr Dubinsky

Lower House Votes To Bar China, Russia From Dukovany Tender

The state will not be able to contract companies from Russia or China to build a new unit at the Dukovany power plant, following a vote today by the lower house. It will be possible to use only technologies from suppliers from countries that have acceded to the international agreement on government procurement for construction. Russia and China are not among these countries.

Deputy Prime Minister 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 due to take effect in January 2022. According to environmental organizations, nuclear energy is uncompetitive.

According to the government’s proposal, the so-called low-carbon law is to introduce a method of determining the purchase price from the new unit of the Dukovany power plant, which is related to securing financing for the entire project. According to another opposition provision of the law, the Ministry of Industry and Trade may agree on the purchase of electricity from Dukovany only per the Constitutional Security Act.

According to Tuesday’s agreement between Havlíček and the opposition, the Senate was to include security guarantees in the law. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the upper house was to add a text to the law, according to which the construction or maintenance of a new nuclear unit must not be directly or indirectly dependent on technology from a supplier from a state that has not acceded to the government procurement agreement.

The government announced in mid-April that the Czechia had decided not to invite the Russian company Rosatom to a tender in response to information about the Russian secret service’s share of explosions at the Vrbětice ammunition complex in the Zlín region in 2014. Ministers approved a resolution that the so-called safety questionnaire will be sent only to potential suppliers from France, South Korea, and the United States, ie EDF, KHNP, and Westinghouse. The Chinese company CGN has already been phased out.

The Communists were against the elimination of Russian or Chinese companies. According to Leo Luzar (KSČM), the law has become a victim of special-purpose geopolitical games, which will increase the price of electricity for Czech users in the future. Petr Třešňák, a pirate deputy and nuclear engineer, described these claims as a “set of demagoguery”.

At the instigation of the Communists and Pirates to the law, the Chamber of Deputies adopted a recommendation to the government to “open an open international tender for the completion of another nuclear bloc in the Czech Republic to ensure the most efficient, safe, economically and time-efficient option concerning national security”. At the same time, the winning bid should make maximum use of Czech suppliers and a stable and sustainable low price of electricity.

The environmental organizations Hnutí Duha and Calla stated that the Chamber of Deputies today issued a blank check to the government for a new nuclear reactor in Dukovany.

The law proposed by the government envisages that if the purchase price is higher than the price of so-called power electricity on the market, the difference will be paid by all consumers through tariffs. In the second case, where the purchase price will be lower than the market price, the impact on consumers will be the opposite. Power electricity is an unregulated part of the final price of electricity for customers.