Czech vision of the Atomic State

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Last April, when the Czech government refused to guarantee the long-term return on the project of new reactors at Temelín and when ČEZ ended the tender selection process immediately afterwards, both industry and finance ministers were tasked with developing strategy for going ahead with the nuclear in the Czech Republic. Its creation was kept under wraps and only recently it was submitted for an assessment to other ministries under the name of "National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy in the Czech Republic". A simple fact that the ministries were given just five days for the reaction to the proposal which will affect the future of the Czech Republic for the entire century, urges vigilance. Besides, the proposal makes reference to the approved draft of the National Energy Policy of the Czech Republic that has not yet been adopted.

The content of the strategy discloses a possible reason - preparations for the construction of four new reactors (two at Temelín and two at Dukovany) are to be launched. However, the decision on the necessary form and the amount of guarantee for the investor which is to be paid by electricity consumers or taxpayers, will be relegated to the horizon of 2025. In the meantime, there could be 1,2 billion euros spent for the preparation and obtaining permits for both projects and investors. Further decision-making process will be thus significantly limited due to threat of thwarting embedded costs for ČEZ, as well as future suppliers, after reality gets revealed: the futility and economic non-recovery of the construction of new reactors. However, at this point the National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy is already based on faulty economic assumptions, which will be reflected on the decisions taken. Out of several examples, let us mention at least a presumption of investment demandingness of only EUR 4,500/kW for the construction of new blocks.

While the National Action Plan still assumes that by the end of this year, the government will receive study with a particular method of construction of new nuclear units with the selected business-investment model (there will probably be an allocated ČEZ’s subsidiary, in which both technology suppliers and the state will have shares) but in the meantime the whole preparation will be launched. According to this strategy, the state intervention should be significantly strengthened in favour of nuclear energy - from the establishment of permanent government committee headed by the Prime Minister, the appointment of a Government Agent and the legislation for easier permitting nuclear power plants to directing more public funding for science and research exclusively for nuclear power. At the moment, when establishing a similar government committee for energy efficiency, climate change and renewable energy sources are not even considered, this proposal is a strong signal about the priorities of the government’s energy direction.

Edvard Sequens, Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment