PR:Weaknesses of candidates for reactor construction in the Czech Republic: delays, cost overrun, cancellation of projects
Press release of Alliance for Energy Self-Sufficiency, Calla – Association for Preservation of the Environment and the Prague office of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung dated September 18, 2017
Weaknesses of candidates for reactor construction in the Czech Republic: delays, cost overrun, cancellation of projects
Today, Alliance for Energy Self-Sufficiency, Calla and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung have presented a new publication by Emeritus Professor Stephen Thomas (University of Greenwich, UK), which brings a unique insight into the state of the currently-deployed nuclear power plants in the world .The publication focuses primarily on technologies that may be considered for the planned construction of new nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic. By comparing the situation on the reactor sites, Professor Thomas concludes that the vast majority of projects in Europe, the United States, China or Russia are accompanied by major delays, technological problems and increases of final costs.
Professor Stephen Thomas summed up his findings during his visit to the Czech Republic: "The Russians do not have successful projects for new reactors around the world, their constructions are delayed and are known for many accidents. American Westinghouse and French Areva are in financial trouble on the verge of bankruptcy, and Chinese companies have no experience of building nuclear power plants abroad. South Korea chose a president who prepares a plan to phase out nuclear power, and its reactors would need a major revision of technology. In addition, South Korea's nuclear projects are currently not in compliance with the European Union's security standards."
Professor Thomas then advised the Czech government not to risk future stability of the Czech energy by investing in hazardous nuclear projects: "There are many non-nuclear options on the market that are more reliable, cheaper and more effective in meeting the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the Czech Republic."
"New nuclear reactors are the most expensive solution for future energy. The experience with foreign projects, which are connected with delays, cost overrun and, in some cases, even canceling the projects under development, shows that the Czech government has bet on the wrong horse. Professor Thomas's study is a key impetus for the Czech debate before the elections. The vast majority of political parties in our country promise new nuclear reactors, but they close their eyes to technological problems or the fact that the investment will have to paid by electricity consumers instead of using affordable renewable resources," summarizes Martin Sedlák of the Alliance for Energy Self-Sufficiency the Czech context of the study.
Edvard Sequens of Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment added: "There is a lack of serious public debate about other Czech energy security options than the expensive and in many respects hazardous nuclear power plants. The centralized, state-run model that has worked in the past is gone and it is hard to assume that it will return in another 100 years."
The " Weaknesses of candidates for reactor construction in the Czech Republic: delays, cost overrun, cancellation of projects" study shows a global market overview of modern types of nuclear reactors listed by their suppliers:
- Westinghouse (reactor AP 1000): Construction of reactors of this type is delayed on average for four years at different sites in China and the US. The construction of the Summer 2 and 3 (US) nuclear power plants was even canceled this summer after several billion dollars have been invested. Westinghouse now faces bankruptcy.
- Areva (EPR reactor): The delays of the Olkiluoto (Finland) nuclear power plant construction project are 9 years, the cost has risen threefold: 8.5 billion euros. There are also problems in France and China. Similarly, an unbuilt reactor construction in Hinkley Point C (Great Britain) is struggling with the cost increase.
- Rosatom (AES-2006 reactor): as the only supplier and potential contractor who is able to offer a complete reactor, but also faces technological problems and poor work safety. For example, Finnish Nuclear Regulator criticizes poor staffing or a low number of experts. Evidence of this is the crisis situation in the past: for example, in July 2011, steel reinforcements collapsed before the wall containment was concreted on the Leningrad plant site. In July 2016, during the handling of the reactor pressure vessel at the Ostrovec Belarusian power plant, this component was released and it fell from a height of four meters.
- South Korea (reactor KEPCO APR1400): a reactor of this type is operated in South Korea, the other three are under construction. However, future developments are a matter of concern, as South Korea should phase-out from nuclear power. KEPCO admits that the reactor is not equipped with expensive security features, such as a double-containment system to protect against aircraft crash or a nuclear reactor core melt trap, which are required by nuclear regulators in Europe.
- China (CGN HUALONG ONE reactor): Construction has started recently, so the project can not be evaluated.
- Martin Sedlák, Alliance for Energy Self-Sufficiency, +420 737 128 471, martin DOT sedlak AT alies DOT cz
- Edvard Sequens, Energy Consultant, Calla – Association for Preservation of the Environment, +420 602 282 399, edvard DOT sequens AT calla DOT cz
- The publication „Weaknesses of candidates for reactor construction in the Czech Republic: delays, cost overrun, cancellation of projects“ by Stephen Thomas can be downloaded here : http://www.temelin.cz/images/PDF/thomas_reaktory2017.pdf. For information in English you can download the presentation by Professor Thomas at: http://temelin.cz/images/PDF/thomas_prezentace2017.pdf
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