China to be excluded from Czech tender for new Dukovany nuclear unit

China to be excluded from Czech tender for new Dukovany nuclear unit
The new power plant unit at Dukovany is to be put into operation in 2036. / Petr Adamek
By bne IntelliNews January 28, 2021

The planned tender for the supplier of the new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant will most likely be without a Chinese bidder, the Czech government and the leaders of the opposition parties agreed on January 27.

According to Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlicek, for all political parties China is an unimaginable main supplier. 

"Basically, we all believe that China is an unimaginable potential supplier to us in the tender. At the same time, the political parties are divided in the attitude of a certain part of politicians who would like to exclude Russia [from a tender, too], while another part wants to keep it there," minister said. 

Some opposition parties see Russia as a security and geopolitical threat, said chairman of Mayors and Independents Vit Rakusan.

The state has been also considering financing the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Dukovany on its own, in case involvement of the state-owned energy company CEZ would be too expensive. 

Havlicek stressed it could reduce the energy purchase prices. "In case this would help [to decrease] the purchase price, the state is ready to finance the construction by 100%," the minister said, adding that the project could thus enjoy a lower interest rate. 

According to a framework agreement from the end of July 2020, by 2024,  CEZ has to tender the main supplier of the new nuclear power plant in Dukovany, negotiate a contract, secure all necessary permits and ensure that the new power plant unit is put into operation in 2036. The state will bear guarantees for political and legislative risks that could make the project impossible. 

In December 2020, Havlicek presented four possible options for participation of bidders in the tender, including a scenario in which all five current bidders will be invited to the tender or the option with three bidders without Russia and China.