Nuclear reactor decisions will come next year


The government will decide on a possible state support to the construction of new nuclear reactors on the basis of an analysis next year, after it discusses a new state energy strategy and a nuclear energy development plan, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said. 


The Industry and Trade Ministry is to draft the analysis by the end of this year.


“Without this analysis, without updated information and without expert opinions I cannot say clearly how many nuclear reactors the government may support to be built,” Sobotka said in the Chamber of Deputies.


Sobotka said this in reaction to a statement by Václav Pačes, a deputy chairman of the board of state-run power utility ČEZ, who said on Sunday that ČEZ might announce a new tender procedure for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant in south Bohemia next year.


ČEZ said later it was not planning any new tender procedure.


ČEZ cancelled the original tender to build two new units at Temelín without picking a winner at the beginning of April this year. Before that, Sobotka's government said it cannot guarantee purchasing prices of electricity produced by the extended Temelín. This means the project would not be economically viable for ČEZ.


 “It does not pay off to build new energy sources in Europe without public support,” Sobotka told MPs today. The reason lies in the decreasing prices of electricity due to support to renewable sources, he said.


Sobotka also said he believed that nuclear power plants will have a “significant share” in electricity production in the Czech Republic in the future.


According to Pačes, the price of electricity will be increasing in the future.


Temelín's output, which is now 2,000 megawatts, should more than double after the construction of two new units.


According to the original plan, the construction was scheduled to be completed in 2025. The new units should be in operation for 60 years.


The costs of Temelín's extension are estimated to reach between 200 billion Kč and 300 billion Kč.


As regards the possible construction of two new units of the nuclear power plant Dukovany in south Moravia, ČEZ is trying to push through the construction of the first one and would like to put it into operation around 2035. The other new unit could be added later, Ladislav Štěpánek, a member of ČEZ's board of directors, told journalists at a conference on the future of the Dukovany plant today.


The two new units would fully replace the current four units, which are to be closed in 2045 at the latest. The total output of Dukovany would then be the same as at present, which is around 2,000 MW, Štěpánek said.


According to Štěpánek, the construction of the first new unit will depend on whether the state will support it.


 “Under the current conditions on the electricity market it does not pay off to build any energy source that is not subsidized,” Štěpánek said.


According to other participants in the conference, chances for a new unit at Dukovany have risen after ČEZ cancelled the tender for the extension of Temelín.


Costs of Dukovany's extension could be about one half lower than those for Temelín.


ČEZ would like to launch the EIA procedure regarding Dukovany in the course of 2015 or 2016.


The current units of Dukovany, covering 20 percent of the domestic power consumption, were put into operation between 1985 and 1987. According to original plans, they should produce electricity for 30 years, but ČEZ wants to prolong their lifespan for 50 up to 60 years.