PR:The Government's Nuclear Plan: Forget About Cheap Electricity, the Nuclear Government is Coming Into Power
Joint Press Release by the Alliance for Energy Self-Sufficiency (ALIES), Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment and Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA) dated June 2, 2015
The Government's Nuclear Plan: Forget About Cheap Electricity, the Nuclear Government is Coming Into Power
The National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy (NAP JE) in the Czech Republic, whose approval will decide on Wednesday June 3, the Government envisages the preparation of four new reactors - two in Dukovany NPP and two in Temelín NPP. After approval of the updated National Energy Policy, this is the essential material, which should pave the way for the construction of additional nuclear power sources in the Czech Republic. A critical problem, which the government sets aside for the future, is to ensure a meaningful economic project. According to ALIES, Calla and Hnutí DUHA, this nuclear plan will draw the future government in 2025 into a nuclear trap, since the future government should make a decision on the continuation of the project and also financial support for it from public sources.
Critical points of the NAP JE in the Czech Republic are as follows:
- The plan proposes to start preparations for the construction of new reactors at Temelín and Dukovany NPPs. Yet, the major decisions about their financing, i.e. the structure and the amount of the necessary guarantees for the investor, which would have to be paid for by electricity consumers or taxpayers, should be postponed until 2025. Until then, however, up to 32 billion crowns will be spent for the preparation of the plan.
- The plan envisages very low investment costs of the reactors. The estimated price of € 4,500 / kW by Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO) is far from a real price, which is between € 6,000 to 9,750 / kW.
- According to calculations by consulting company Candole Partners, electricity consumers could pay up to 1 trillion (1012) CZK for a period of 35 years if the subsidies for new reactors was granted. According to calculations by Hnutí DUHA which take into account inflation rates, however, the amount could be nearly 2,900 billion (109) CZK. The actual NAP JE estimates a subsidy of 8-13 billion CZK annually, but based on estimated guaranteed prices which no investor has not commented on so far.
- Potential risks in the form of terrorism connected to the expansion of nuclear power sources or possible future political instability - as we currently observe in Ukraine, where the battlefront between separatists and the Ukrainian army reached a distance of less than 200 kilometres from the storage of nuclear waste, have not been assessed either.
"The Ministry of Industry should finally remove the rose-coloured glasses through which it looks at nuclear power. Projects of nuclear power plants under construction around the world clearly show that these are no cheap toys, but projects worth hundreds of billions that requiring state support in the form of various subsidies. There is a real danger that consumers will have to pay more than a trillion CZK in the future for the next Czech nuclear reactors. CEZ itself should be warned by current actions of the Ministry of Industry which are trying to threaten guaranteed support for renewables. It is a dangerous precedent which could affect even considered subsidies for new reactors in the future," says Martin Sedlák of ALIES.
Karel Polanecký of Hnutí DUHA says:"Presenters of the proposal to support new Czech reactors are mainly considering to copy the British model of feed-in tariffs (FITs). The assumption that they will negotiate a better price than the British, however, is overly optimistic. The British government guarantees the price of € 126 / MWh, with an annual increase in line with inflation rates. The current stock market price is around € 35 / MWh. This is a very high surcharge for nuclear enthusiasm."
Even though the Ministry of Industry partially accepted the comment to remedy too low liability of the operator of nuclear reactors (ČEZ) for damages caused by any nuclear accident, the plan still continues to maintain a very limited 9 billion CZK.
"A number of other EU states has a higher limit of the financial liability – for example, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. In Germany, the guarantees are set up to € 2,5 billion which is more than 60 billion CZK. Limitation of liability can also be seen as indirect state aid to operators of nuclear reactors," warns Edvard Sequens of Calla.
In contrast to low financial liability, damage after severe NPPs accidents can reach astronomical figures. The damage is estimated at 4,3 trillion CZK after Fukushima, at 4,6 trillion CZK after Chernobyl3, the French National Institute for Nuclear Safety (IRSN) estimated the potential damage after an accident in one of their local plants at 10,9 trillion CZK.
The Ministry of Industry has been avoiding for long time an objective comparison of the costs of additional nuclear reactors with other energy sources. That is why it was able to plan in a newly approved State Energy Policy that we should produce more than half of the electricity in nuclear reactors by 2040, while in France their share should drop to 50 % already in 2025.
This year's study by the German think-thank Agora shows that the costs of solar PV power plants will decline by one-third in the next decade and by two-thirds in the long term (by 2050), if compared with 2015. Thus, solar energy should become the cheapest source of electricity on the Earth within next ten years. This way it will defeat resources such as coal and nuclear, as according to the aforementioned study, the electricity from new coal and gas power plants is already costing between € 50 and 100 / MWh and from new nuclear power plants over € 110 / MWh today.
NGOs welcomed that the National Action Plan phased out the plan to construct a facility for production of nuclear fuel in the Czech Republic, which was not economically viable, posed geopolitical risks and would mean a burden for inhabitants of affected municipalities or cities in terms of its operation.
- Martin Sedlák, ALIES, +420 737 128 471, email: martin DOT sedlak AT alies DOT cz
- Karel Polanecký, Hnutí DUHA, +420 737 666 968, email: karel DOT polanecky AT hnutiduha DOT cz
- Edvard Sequens, Calla, +420 602 282 399, email: edvard DOT sequens AT calla DOT cz
- FY2020 Nuclear Generating Cost Treble Pre-Accident Level – Huge Price Tag on Fukushima Accident Cleanup, Tatsuo Kobayashi, Senior Economist, Japan Center for Economic Research, http://www.jcer.or.jp/eng/research/pdf/pe(kobayashi20110719)e.pdf
- Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, The Chernobyl Forum: 2003–2005, http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf
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