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Czech Republic / Three Final Bids Confirmed For Up To Four New Nuclear Reactors

By David Dalton
31 October 2023

Contracts could be finalised within next year and new unit ready for trial operation in 2036

Three Final Bids Confirmed For Up To Four New Nuclear Reactors
Prague wants to see a new unit in operaton at Dukovany in 2036.

The company overseeing the project to build new nuclear power plants at the Dukovany site in the Czech Republic announced on Tuesday (31 October) it had received final bids from three companies.

Elektrárna Dukovany II (Edu II), a wholly owned subsidiary of state utility ČEZ, said it had received final bids for the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Dukovany from US-based Westinghouse, France’s EDF and South Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP). All three submitted initial bids in November 2022.

Edu II said the suppliers had submitted a binding bid for Dukovany-5 and non-binding bids for a further three units. Those units would be Dukovany-6 and two additional units at the Temelín site, Temelín-3 and -4.

Westinghouse and EDF both said in statements that their bids propose construction of one unit at Dukovany with the potential for a second unit there and two additional units at Temelín.

Both companies are proposing Generation III+ reactor technology – Westinghouse its AP1000 and EDF its EPR1200. KHNP’s proposed technology is likely to be the APR1400.

Companies had until 11:00 on 31 October to submit their bids.

China and Russia Excluded

State-owned companies from China and Russia were excluded from bidding on security grounds.

Edu II will now evaluate the bids from “economic, commercial, and technical points of view” and submit an evaluation report to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and then to the Czech government for final approval.

Contracts could be finalised within the next year and Dukovany-5 ready for trial operation in 2036.

The new unit will be built next to the existing power station and will eventually replace some of the existing facility’s capacity when older units are retired. The first of four existing units at Dukovany began commercial operation in 1985.

The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four Russia-designed VVER-440 units at Dukovany and two larger VVER-1000 units at Temelín. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, in 2022 the six units provided 36.7% of the country’s electricity production.

Construction of a first new unit at Dukovany could begin in 2029. The industry ministry has said it would be the biggest investment in the modern history of the Czech Republic, costing around €6bn ($6.7bn).

A second new unit at Dukovany has a target operation date not earlier than the mid-2040s. This would coincide with the retirements of the existing Dukovany VVERs.

ČEZ has also said it is planning to deploy small modular reactors with the first to go online in 2032 at Temelín. It said in March it had tentatively identified two preferred sites for additional units.

According to ČEZ, support for the development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic has increased by 7% over the past year to 72%, the highest since 1993. The high support is mainly due to the current energy crisis, the company said.

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