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Poland suspends costly nuclear plans, Czech Republic goes ahead with fuzzy nuclear financing

scrutiny-on-costsCzech government presses ahead with nuclear plans as Poland suspends programme, Radio Prague 26-01-2017  Chris Johnstone Same day, two different stories about nuclear power in the Czech Republic and neighbouring Poland.

On Wednesday, the Czech government announced the creation of three working groups to push ahead with plans to build nuclear reactors in the country to replace aged capacity and boost nuclear power production to around half of the country’s electricity needs.

In Warsaw, the Polish finance ministry announced it was suspending its very ambitious nuclear programme aimed at securing future power supplies and curbing the use of coal-fired power plants. The ministry said that previous financing proposals burdening the state budget were simply not acceptable. The nuclear plans could still be revived but other options, such as modern coal plants would also be looked at, the ministry added.

In Prague, the statement from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the creation of the new working groups gave new impetus to the government strategy to boost nuclear power. That was agreed mid-way through 2015 by the current government………..

Czech nuclear plans are currently a mixture of the fairly clear, fairly fuzzy, and extremely unclear. It’s clear that a decision will be needed by around 2025 if a new reactor or reactors are to be built at Dukovany to replace the four units there which will be phased out from 2035 onwards. That’s the overwhelming priority. State controlled ČEZ is currently piloting the nuclear preparations, but it could eventually give way to a specially created state company or some joint venture with the international nuclear constructer eventually selected. And the overall power outlook, not just electricity prices but future demand as well given the continued roll-out of renewables and EU moves to curb demand are all also major intangibles.

Some of the targets for the working groups to report back are as early as May and June but other stretch out for the years to come. In theory though the Czech government should be making a decision about whether it will be willing to finance new nuclear capacity by the middle of the year. But whether any decision will be binding on a new government so close to elections is another question.

So, while Wednesday’s news looked so different on the surface, the doubts and uncertainties about new nuclear are widely shared.


January 27, 2017 - Posted by | EUROPE, politics

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