The Czech Republic on 13 November approved the construction of the Dukovany II nuclear plant and has set a target date for completion of 2036.

The Czech parliamentary committee for the construction of new nuclear resources said this is an important step towards maintaining the self-sufficiency of the country. The committee added that by 2040, renewable energy will not be able to cover all the country’s electricity consumption and that nuclear power offers a clean alternative to coal.
“Energy security is our priority, and I am very pleased that today’s meeting has given concrete deadlines for a nuclear unit at Dukovany. They are as follows: in 2021 there should be a siting decision, the tender should take place in 2021, a contractor should be selected by the end of 2022, construction should begin in 2029 and operation in 2036," said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. He emphasised that the construction of new nuclear units contributes to the fight against climate change and emissions reduction targets.
The Czech Republic currently has six nuclear reactors at two nuclear plants. Dukovany NPP which began operating in 1985 has four Soviet-designed VVER-440 reactors, and Temelin NPP, operational since 2000 but licensed only until 2022, has two VVER-1000 units. In 2014, power company CEZ cancelled the tender for construction of two new Temelin units after it failed to get state guarantees for the project. Bids had been submitted by three candidates – France’s Areva; US Westinghouse; and a Russian-Czech consortium MIR.1200 comprising Škoda JS, AtomStroyExport and OKB Gidropress. However, Areva pulled out of the tender.
In July 2019, the government gave preliminary approval for ČEZ subsidiary Elektrárna Dukovany II to build at least one new nuclear power unit. The decision was announced in a government resolution published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The government’s energy policy, approved in June 2015, foresees one new unit at Dukovany, and possibly three more at the Dukovany and Temelín sites.

Six companies have expressed interest in building new nuclear units in the Czech Republic – China General Nuclear, EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Westinghouse, and the Atmea consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and EDF.

Photo: Existing Dukovany nuclear plant (Credit: CEZ)