Škoda JS boss hopes Czech firms get big share of new nuclear work

12 June 2023

Škoda JS Director General František Krček says he believes Czech industry could handle a majority of the work for new nuclear plants in the country - and says he also hopes for orders relating to small modular reactors within five years.

František Krček (Image: ČEZ)

Krček, in an interview with e15, noted that Škoda JS had signed memorandums with the three bidders for the new nuclear unit at Dukovany - ČEZ is considering France's EDF, the USA's Westinghouse and South Korea's KHNP and "each of the candidates makes sense to us from the point of view of possible cooperation and we are ready for their technologies".

He said the company, which has a long history in the nuclear sector including being a supplier for EDF at Hinkley Point C, can offer a range of services from design to manufacturing and engineering to operational support.

The Alliance of Czech Energy has a campaign calling for 65% of the work to go to Czech companies and Krček says that while he supports the aim, there are legislative restrictions on giving preference to domestic suppliers but "I believe that the share of Czech industry could, and should, be very high".

ČEZ is currently evaluating the bids for the new reactor at Dukovany, while near Temelin, an area has been designated the South Bohemia Nuclear Park and earmarked for small reactors to operate in the early 2030s.

Asked whether more - as many as four - new blocks should be built, he said: "It would make sense to me. If we were to build one block now and decide in 10 years that we want the other three, I am sure that the Czech nuclear business would needlessly lose orders ... it can also be expected that if all states fulfill their ambitions in terms of the number of planned nuclear units, the one who starts construction earlier will be in a better position from the point of view of the real capacities of all supplier companies than the one who hesitates and stands at the end of the queue of bidders about construction."

On small modular reactors (SMRs), Krček says that Škoda JS - which is now owned by ČEZ - has signed cooperation memorandums with a wide range of companies and sees SMRs as "part of a suitable energy mix in the future but now we have to urgently address the current situation and from my point of view, the optimal way is the construction of 'standard' nuclear blocks supplemented, if possible, with smaller ones". He said that the hope was to get the first orders relating to SMRs within five years.

The Czech Republic uses nuclear power for 34% of its electricity, generating this from four reactors at Dukovany and two at Temelin. As well as the project to expand Dukovany, it has also been considering building new units at Temelin.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News