Czech power engineering alliance formed to safeguard know-how and chase contracts

Foto: Evropská komise

Czech engineering giants have agreed to pool their forces and efforts to grab a bigger share of world nuclear contracts and safeguard their know-how during lean times.

Photo: European Commission
Many of the great and good of the Czech power engineering sector gathered in Prague to form a new alliance. The target is to pool their forces and boost their chances of grabbing a bigger share of worldwide nuclear tenders.

When you can get the prime minister in tow to some launch event it’s usually an indication that something significant is happening. And Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka was indeed on hand for Tuesday’s launch of the Czech Energy Alliance.

The argument for such cooperation was already outlined in the government’s national program for the development of the nuclear sector adopted in June. So prime minister Sobotka’s presence, as well as that of minister for industry and trade Jan Mládek, at the birth was somehow appropriate after having being around at the conception.

Thirteen of the country’s leading engineering companies, headed by ČEZ daughter company Škoda Praha, agreed to form an alliance in which they will collectively cooperate with the government and each other to target large nuclear power contracts.

The logic is that individually none of them can muster the resources and expertise to construct whole nuclear power plants, the core reactors, or even the operating equipment. Together though they can help each other out and in certain cases cooperate on major contracts as the main supplier and sub-contractors.

There is also the fundamental fact that the global nuclear renaissance is not taking place at the pace once expected under the burden of high construction costs and heightened safety constraints. Even, the planned construction of two new Czech reactors is somewhat uncertain given that there is still a big question mark over the future financing.

For the likes of Škoda Praha, Škoda JS, Modřany Power, Vítkovice, ZVVZ Group, and IBC Praha, there is a considerable burden of keeping your nuclear experts on the pay roll and up to scratch with the latest developments when the throughput of new nuclear orders is slow and intermittent. Some nuclear orders are on the horizon that the Czech companies believe they could win contracts. These are in Turkey, Jordan, Hungary, and Finland, as well as the Czech Republic itself.