IEA urges Czech Republic to choose reactor technology

20 December 2016

An International Energy Agency (IEA) report, ‘Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Czech Republic’, published on 13 December, said the Czech Republic should choose a specific technology for new nuclear reactors by 2020. This will enable permits to be approved by 2025 and construction can be completed before 2035. IEA added that this process should involve a detailed analysis of the roles of the government and NPP operators.

The state energy policy (SEP), approved by the Czech government in 2015, anticipates one new unit at the existing Dukovany nuclear site and possibly three more at Dukovany and Temelin NPP. SEP recommends that state-owned utility CEZ should create a subsidiary company to prepare construction plans and explore options for financing the new build, even though the first new plan may not be approved until 2025. There are three construction organisation options: plants could be built by CEZ or a wholly owned subsidiary of CEZ; plants could be built by international consortiums, with or without CEZ’s participation; or Czech ministries could form a state-owned enterprise to build the plants, then lease or sell them to CEZ.

To ensure local content, the government would prefer CEZ as a favoured investor. The units must secure financing of approximately €4.5-5.4bn ($4.7-5.7bn), with allowance for a second unit at each site, the IEA said. A feasibility study for a new reactor at Dukovany is in progress, and CEZ is preparing for an environmental assessment at the site. The report says nuclear is expected to become the main source of electricity production with its share rising from 32.5% in 2014 to between 46% and 58% in 2040. The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four Russian-design VVER-440 units at the Dukovany site and two VVER-1000 units at Temelín. Recent media reports said six companies have shown interest in building nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic, but no decision to proceed with construction is likely until after elections in October 2017. 

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