Czech Republic: The National Action Plan is so optimistic that it is unviable

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=> CZECH version of this article

Three months before June when the politicians voted for approval of the National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy (NAP JE) in the Czech Republic, associations Calla and Friends of the Earth Czech Republic distributed a fact sheet "Overly expensive nuclear plans" among members of Chamber of Deputies and Senate in order to provide them with the information needed so that they could decide responsibly about the future national energy strategy. However, instead of responsible decision-making that would take into account the development of nuclear energy and renewable energy in Europe and the world, the decision to build four new reactors (two at Dukovany and two at Temelin) was postponed till next government in 2025 but 32 billion for the preparation of this plan have been approved already. The following text will try to describe briefly the most important facts to which current politicians as a whole did not respond according to our expectations.

NAP JE presents the development of nuclear energy as economically advantageous for the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, this judgement is mostly based on erroneous input data. Indeed, it counts with the nuclear power plant construction costs of €4,500 per kilowatt hour, while in fact they move between €6,000/kW and €9,750/kW. Furthermore, guaranteed electricity prices are calculated with the assumption of rapidly increasing prices of emission allowances, but it does not take into account the rapidly growing share of renewable energy. In addition, the electricity purchase prices on the stock exchange hovered around the level of €35/MWh in June, while the government is considering a plan with a guaranteed purchase price of electricity for the investor between €66 and €86 per megawatt hour depending on the level of financial costs for next 35 years (following the example of the British Hinkley Point C project against which the Austrian Federal Government filed a legal action at the European Court of Justice in June). Such state financial support based on the scheme Contract for Difference (CfD) would mean for the Czech electricity consumers that for next 35 years they would have to pay up to one trillion Czech crowns[1] or up to 2.9 trillion CZK including inflation [2]. Besides this variant of state subsidies being paid for the construction of reactors, the Ministry of Industry and Trade considers the possibility that the company ČEZ or its 100 % owned subsidiary, which would have to be created first, will invest into the project. However, as Jan Ondřich of Candole Partners noted at the June experts roundtable in Prague which was co-organized by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Alliance for Energy Independence and Calla, such investments in nuclear reactors without state financial support would be fatal for ČEZ.

Why does the Ministry of Trade and Industry advocates the construction of reactors in the first place? Ministers repeat endlessly that the future consumption of electricity will grow and thus it is necessary to have electricity reserves in order to secure our country. The fact that the Czech Republic is one of the largest exporters of electricity in the last few years is neglected (which means that our country has certainly no shortage of electricity). In addition, calculations of the Ministry does not reflect the situation on the European market where electricity supply prevails over demand in the long term.

If, after having read this article, you are just thinking about how much support has the NAP JE among the Czech people, then you should know that this plan does not represent the opinion of 78 % of the Czech population, which, according to the May CVVM public opinion survey, are against the increased share of nuclear power in electricity generation. They understand that "they themselves would eventually have to pay heavily for the unprofitable investment".

Olga Kališová, Calla (August 15, 2015)

  1. source: Candole Partners
  2. source: Friends of the Earth Czech Republic