19 Apr 2021 11:20

Czech Republic excluding Russia from tender to expand Dukovany NPP amid political scandal

MOSCOW. April 19 (Interfax) - The Czech authorities plan to exclude Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom from the tender to expand the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant against the backdrop of a political scandal between the two countries.

Within a few days Rosatom will be excluded from the opportunity to bid in the tender, Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek said in an interview with a Czech publication.

He also said Rosatom will not be able to participate as a subcontractor. This is virtually impossible, as not a single candidate will go with a supplier from the Rosatom Group, Havlicek said when asked about this.

On Saturday the Czech Republic announced a decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats, who it said are intelligence workers operating under diplomatic cover. The reason for the decision is that the Czech authorities believe Russian intelligence services were involved in an explosion at a Czech arms depot in 2014 that killed two people.

On Saturday evening, Czech police issued arrest warrants for two Russian citizens, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The police did not give details about the case they are suspected of being involved in, but said it was a serious crime.

In March 2021, Elektrarna Dukovany II, a.s. (EDU-II), a division of Czech energy company CEZ Group, received permission from the country's nuclear safety authority to build a new nuclear power plant in the municipality of Dukovany. This is expected to be followed by the announcement of a tender to select a contractor.

The application to expand the Dukovany NPP was submitted to the regulator in March 2020. The application concerned the construction of two new generating units at the plant with capacity of 1,200 MW each, CEZ said at the time.

Rosatom has repeatedly said it plans to bid in Czech tenders to build new nuclear generating capacity. In November 2016, its subsidiary Rusatom Overseas said that the state company had given the Czech Industry Ministry and CEZ Group a package of documents on potential participation in a project to build new nuclear generating units. Prior to this, in October, Rosenergoatom said the Czech Republic was considering Rosatom's proposal for the construction of new generating units in the country to replace the Dukovany plant.

The Czech Republic now has two nuclear power plants: Dukovany with four units with VVER-440 reactors and the Temelin NPP with two units with VVER-1000 reactors built according to Soviet designs.