European nuclear industry ponders problems in Prague
Prague this week hosted the 12th annual meeting of the European Nuclear Energy Forum, an opportunity for those in government, the industry, regulators, and European authorities to get together and try to plot the future for one of the continent’s key industries and energy sources. The room for cutting construction costs and how to deal with highly radioactive nuclear waste were two of the main subjects for debate this year.
Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico both attended the forum opening and underlined their commitment to nuclear as part of Europe’s long term energy mix. Bohuslav Sobotka:
ʺFor our country, the question of stable and reliable energy supplies are very important because we are part of Europe’s industrial core. We expect industry to go through a far reaching modernisation and digitalisation and without doubt there will be greater demands on energy systems as regards their reliability and ability to supply sufficient electricity."
The Czech Republic is typical of where the European industry is right now. As the Czech prime minister outlined there is a commitment to building new nuclear plants.
"I would like to confirm the intent of the Czech government to intensively work on the construction of a new nuclear unit at Dukovany. We would like during our term to make all the preparations possible so that this can go forward quickly and smoothly and during this process will put the emphasis on transparency, efficiency and safety.ʺ
And even if that problem is solved, the Czechs will be looking to select a nuclear power plant supplier from a potentially thinned down set of candidates. US supplier Westinghouse is in bankruptcy protection proceedings with its Japanese main shareholder also facing problems and France’s Areva is in the middle of restructuring. That leaves Russian, Chinese and South Korean suppliers in probable pole position