Prague, Sept 17 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman acts as Moscow’s nuclear ambassador to Prague and has been doing his utmost for the planned construction of new units of the Dukovany nuclear power plant to be entrusted to Russia’s Rosatom state company, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.
In an interview on the Barrandov private TV station on Thursday, Zeman praised the performance of the new cabinet of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) except for Industry and Trade Minister Marta Novakova (for ANO), whom he criticised over a lacking energy industry plan.
Zeman said it is important for industrial investment projects to be planned like those in the transport sector, where they have a clear plan outlining what will be built, when and for what money.
He said the industry sector has no such plan, which is why he assessed its performance as poor, Honzejk writes.
It is not difficult to guess what aim Zeman pursued by his words. He wants the order for an extension of the nuclear plant in Dukovany, south Moravia, to be placed with Rosatom. He wants this so eagerly that he sharply condemns anyone who is not striving for the same goal openly and with enthusiasm, Honzejk writes.
Zeman ignores the fact that a nuclear unit project cannot be planned, let alone built, as easily as a roundabout, for example. He will be promoting the placing of the Dukovany order with the Russians at any cost, Honzejk writes.
Zeman’s primary interest in Rosatom’s success became clear during his recent visit to the Dukovany plant, when he said he would like it if Prague granted the order to the Russians without putting up a tender, as was the case of the Paks nuclear plant in Hungary, Honzejk writes.
Without a tender, however, it could hardly be secured that the new unit’s technology is as modern and as safe as possible and its price the lowest possible. True, Zeman’s proposals are quite at odds with West European standards, Honzejk writes.
Of course, no one says Russia should be excluded from the potential list of bidders. Rosatom is the world leader in nuclear energy. At present, it is building 39 new reactors in various countries, which is more than what has been together built by the other big nuclear builders (China, South Korea, France and the USA), Honzejk writes.
Furthermore, both Dukovany and Temelin, the other Czech nuclear power plant located in south Bohemia, are equipped with Russian reactors, he writes.
On the other hand, Rosatom has successfully built reactors mainly in Russia, where the conditions are specific in many respects, including safety.
Dana Drabova, head of the Czech Nuclear Safety Authority (SUJB), has pointed out that Rosatom’s projects suffer from the same delays and complications as other companies’ projects.
In addition, there are geopolitical risks. In Central Europe, to raise one’s dependance on Russia is always disputable, Honzejk writes.
Zeman evidently does not care about this. Unlike Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who does not take geopolitical risks seriously either but views criteria such as time, price and safety as important, Zeman is ready to promote Rosatom even if it turned out to be disadvantageous, Honzejk writes.
Most recently, Zeman has not been much active as Czech president. For example, he did not find the 50th anniversary of the August 21, 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia worth mentioning.
However, he is evidently determined to play actively the role of an ambassador of Russian interests until his last breath. Russian President Vladimir Putin will definitely assess his performance positively, Honzejk adds.