PRAGUE—Three energy companies including U.S. Westinghouse, France’s EdF, and Korea’s KHNP will by vying to build the Czech Republic’s newest reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power station, authorities said Wednesday, as the country strives to become more energy independent and wean itself of fossil fuels.
State-controlled power company CEZ says final bids for the contract to build the reactor will be placed at the end of September next year and a winner announced in 2024. The new reactor should become operational by 2036.
Earlier this year, the Czech government excluded Russia’s energy giant Rosatom and China’s CNG from the tenders process on security grounds.
The new reactor will complement Dukovany’s four 510-megawatt units that were completed in the late 1980s.
The government estimated in March the project would cost around 6 billion euros ($6.22 billion) but that could change due to high inflation driven by soaring energy prices.
The Czech Republic already relies on six nuclear reactors to generate more than a third of its total electricity. Besides the four in Dukovany, state-controlled power company CEZ operates another two 1,000-megawatt reactors at the Temelin plant. CEZ will be in charge of the tender.
Unlike its western neighbors Austria and Germany, the Czech Republic is doubling down on nuclear power and renewable energy sources after deciding to phase out coal as a fuel for energy generation by 2033 in order to reduce carbon emissions.
Another two European Union countries in Central Europe, Slovakia, and Hungary, have also been working to expand nuclear power production while another neighbor, Poland said in October it selected Westinghouse to build the central European country’s first nuclear power plant as part of an effort to burn less coal and gain greater energy independence.