Nuclear Politics

Dukovany / Russia Row Could Influence Decision On $7 Billion Nuclear Tender, Says Minister

By David Dalton
19 April 2021

Rosatom’s participation in proposals for new reactor seems ‘unlikely’

Russia Row Could Influence Decision On $7 Billion Nuclear Tender, Says Minister
The Dukovany nuclear power station in the Czech Republic. Photo courtesy ČEZ.
The Czech Republic’s security row with Russia could influence a decision on whether Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is invited to join a $7bn tender for a new nuclear power plant at the Dukovany nuclear station, industry minister Karel Havlicek said.

The Czech Republic is expelling 18 Russian diplomats over suspicions that Russian intelligence services were involved in an ammunition depot explosion in 2014.

The expulsions come as the country looks to start a tender for the construction of a nuclear plant at state utility ČEZ’s Dukovany nuclear station.

“These events of course can affect Dukovany tender,” Mr Havlicek said. “It is very serious news, any such act, should it be confirmed, must clearly have consequences.”

Russia’s state news agency Tass quoted Mr Havlicek as saying Rosatom’s participation in the tender seems “unlikely”.

Mr Havlicek has been among those advocating for as many bidders in the nuclear tender as possible, including from Russia, to boost competitiveness.

However, Czech security services have warned for years about the risks they say are posed by Russia and China. Opposition politicians have backed those views.

Last month, the Czech government postponed the Dukovany tender until after October elections and said it would not invite Chinese companies to participate in a security assessment of potential bidders.

It was announced in January that the Dukovany tender would probably go ahead without a Chinese bidder following an agreement between the Czech government and leaders of opposition parties.

The parties were said to remain divided about proposals by some politicians to exclude Russia from the tender.

Reports first emerged in December 2020 that the tender for Dukovany could be delayed as politicians discuss whether to allow Chinese and Russian bidders to take part due to security concerns.

According to the reports, the plan for majority state-owned utility ČEZ to build a single unit at the site ran into demands from security services and five opposition parties to exclude Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom and China General Nuclear Power (CGN) due to perceived security risks to the Nato and EU member country.

Czech nuclear regulator SÚJB has issued a siting permit for up to two new reactor units at the Dukovany site in the south of the country.

ČEZ has said it is planning to build one Generation III+ reactor at the Dukavny site, with a maximum installed capacity of 1,200 MW. However, the company filed for permission to build up to two new units.

There are four Russia-designed VVER-440 reactor units at the Dukovany site and the government has said they should be replaced by new ones in about 20 to 30 years.

Pen Use this content