William Malcolm

Russian, Chinese Firms Should Be Excluded From Dukovany Tender: Senate

The Senate called on the government not to include companies from Russia and China, countries that are at risk from the point of view of Czech national security, in the tender for the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. The upper house today approved the call on the proposal of its security committee.

“The Senate calls on the Czech government not to invite candidates from the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, from countries whose very presence in the competition can be described as risky per the state’s strategic documents,” the resolution said.

The upper house also refused to allow Russian and Chinese companies to participate in the project as part of joint consortia. “We stand by not subordinating security to economic interests,” said committee chairman Pavel Fischer (independent). According to the vice-chairman of the committee, Tomáš Jirsa (ODS), the position of the Senate will be misused by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), whom he considers a “security threat to the Czech Republic.”

According to CEZ’s original plans, the tender was announced before the end of the year but was postponed. According to Babiš, the next government will decide on the Dukovany. 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.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček stated that four tender variants should be decided by the end of January. According to the first, all five current bidders will be invited to the tender. According to the second only bidders without Russia and China. According to the third option, which Havlíček prefers, Russia and China could participate in supplier consortia. The fourth option is to postpone the selection procedure until after the parliamentary elections next year.

According to the resolution, the Senate considers it “undesirable for companies with the participation of states that treat NATO countries as hostile or whose representatives are on the EU sanctions list to participate in the strategic construction of the nuclear bloc”. The senators also pointed out that the BIS annual reports have long included information about Russia’s attempts to influence the Czech Republic’s energy decisions. China was mentioned in this context in the BIS annual report for 2017.

According to the Senate, the government should consider the Czech Republic’s safety, including energy security, as a priority and, without delay, incorporate safety guarantees into the criteria binding to implement the competition for the construction of a nuclear unit.