21. 8. 2020
Maximization of the Czech share in the new nuclear source
A solution that is beneficial to all parties involved is called a win-win solution. Such a solution also exists in building new nuclear sources in the Czech Republic - it is maximizing the share of Czech industry in this long-term project. “Long term” means not only the several-year process of preparation and construction of new units, but also the subsequent operation, service and modernization for decades of their lives.
The history of nuclear energy in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic is the history of Czech and Slovak nuclear industry. A group of nuclear experts was founded in the ŠKODA Group in 1956, and the background on which ŠKODA JS stands today started to grow. Within 14 years, our predecessors were able to create domestic capacities and build their first A1 power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice. Also, both current Czech nuclear power plants, Dukovany and Temelín, can easily bear the designation Made in Czechoslovakia, or Made in Czech Republic. Both were based on Soviet design at the time, but Czech and Slovak companies provided not only the absolute majority of equipment deliveries, but also the organization of construction and project coordination.
As I have already stated, as important as the construction itself is the subsequent operation, maintenance and modernization. In order to ensure its safe and economical operation, it is important that the operated unit has easily accessible, time-available daily support. If the partners and suppliers of the operator are domestic companies, all these parameters are significantly more advantageous.
At Temelín and Dukovany, practically all repairs, modernizations and events leading to increased safety have been provided by domestic companies in the last 35 years. For example, ŠKODA JS carried out a complete overhaul of the instrumentation and control system at Dukovany while the power plant was in operation, which was a unique project. And I could mention dozens of similar projects. This will also apply to new units – the higher the Czech share in construction and the subsequent operation and maintenance, the more advantageous it will be for the investor in terms of economy and service life.
Current state - we are in good condition
The Czech nuclear industry still maintains a good shape, high qualification and sufficient capacities to participate significantly in the project of a new source or sources. On the example of ŠKODA JS, this statement can be sufficiently substantiated and the same applies to other top Czech companies in the field.
With regard to the fact that currently there is no large nuclear project in the Czech Republic, ŠKODA JS has concentrated its capacities on foreign markets. Today, we perform almost 70% of our performances there. The advantage is that we are in the industry continuously and thus we are constantly adapting to the latest technical innovations as well as current and updated safety and legislative requirements. By working on foreign projects, we gain experience in managing international teams and solving complex problems in various conditions. We have been supplying and participating in projects in Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Brazil, China and other countries.
The above also applies, for example, in the project for the completion of the Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant in the Slovak Republic. And it is not just ŠKODA JS who has once again proven its qualities on this project. The same applies to other companies with a Czech background, which will legitimately apply for a share in the construction of a new source. We are here, we have know-how and we are ready to use our experience gained on foreign projects at the Czech nuclear power plant. At the completion of Mochovce, we reaffirmed our skills, gained new knowledge and proved that we are a qualified partner for complex deliveries of large projects.
ŠKODA JS has a competitive advantage that it can accompany and support a potential investor and operator at all stages. The combination of engineering, production and service capacities allows us to work not only in the pre-project and project phases of the project, but especially in the supply of equipment, construction, start-up, operation, maintenance and modernization of the unit.
An advantage for everyone
The realistic estimate is that Czech companies could ensure up to 80% of supplies for the new nuclear power source. This would provide them with a perspective in the high technology field for many years and as further references it would support their position in international markets and attractiveness for other players in wider cooperation. Like ŠKODA JS, these companies are important employers in their regions, contributing to their economy, supporting vocational education and highly qualified work. They are resistant to economic fluctuations, characterized by stability and long-term perspective. Their good prosperity will also be reflected in their contribution to state finances.
Maximizing the Czech share is also advantageous for the investor and the future operator, which could naturally build on the existing broad cooperation, maintain the continuity of supply chain management, and get a comprehensive overview of the capabilities and capacities of Czech companies. In return, Czech companies could offer solutions tailored to the investor, because they have a good overview of its requirements and rules.
The state is very interested in the optimal solution for the new nuclear source project for several reasons. One of its main strategic objectives is energy self-sufficiency and safety, sufficient capacity of sources in terms of time, place and availability. The new nuclear unit itself will significantly contribute to the Czech energy self-sufficiency, a high Czech share in its construction and operation will strengthen this self-sufficiency. It would minimize the dependence of the Czech energy sector on foreign suppliers in both short and long term. The state is the majority shareholder of ČEZ and is interested in its good financial results. By optimizing the costs of construction and operation of the new source with the broad involvement of Czech suppliers, it will take care of this share with the care of a proper manager. The prosperity of Czech companies in the nuclear field will strengthen the diversity of the economy towards technologically demanding industries. The state will significantly contribute to the financing of the new source and it is in its interest that these costs are spent efficiently and with maximum benefit for the Czech economy.
It is obvious that the maximum share of Czech companies in the construction and operation of the new nuclear power source could bring a much desired win-win solution to this task. The currently chosen model of construction, organization and financing creates favorable conditions for this.
František Krček, General Director of ŠKODA JS a.s.