Brussels (Brussels Morning) The Czech Republic’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Karel Havlíček, has announced that political parties have agreed to exclude Chinese companies from the tender to build a new nuclear power plant, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The Czech government is finalising details of the tender for construction of a new unit at the Dukovany Nuclear Power Station with an output of 1,200 MW as part of the country’s shift away from coal.
The new reactor should replace older units that are approaching the end of their lifespan and is intended to fill the gap in the grid that will result from the closure of coal-fired power stations within the framework of the EU’s green push.
Comments of authorities and politicians
While Czech security services recommended the exclusion of Chinese and Russian companies, Havlíček noted that Czech politicians had not reached agreement about Russian participation.
“We have come closer on one issue, we nearly all agree that China at this point is not realistic. Now the discussion is whether to allow Russia in, in some form or not,” Havlíček observed.
Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said it was important to reach a broad political consensus on the nuclear power plant project since will not be completed before 2036.
Civic Democratic Party head Petr Fiala argued that it makes no sense to allow Russian companies to take part in the tender if they pose a security risk.
Czech President Miloš Zeman, Minister Havlíček and business leaders, on the other hand, maintain that allowing Russian companies to respond to the tender as part of a larger consortium would boost competition and drive down prices.
Environmental activists opposing the project accuse the Czech Republic of not being sufficiently ambitious in its efforts to switch to renewables and claim that the project is unnecessary and too expensive.Support for nuclear energy in the Czech Republic is high, in contrast with the neighbouring Germany, which is planning to phase out coal and nuclear.