The Skyrocketing Cost of New Nuclear Blocks

The government’s plan to construct new nuclear blocks could cost several trillion koruna, even with a discount. Surprisingly, the government invited participants to submit binding bids for four blocks instead of one in Dukovany, where the competition runs.

The government will not approach Westinghouse of North America, which did not submit a binding offer for the Dukovany block. The new reactors will, therefore, be built by either the French EDF or the South Korean KHNP. According to Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela (STAN), the companies offered a quarter discount in non-binding offers for more blocks. However, experts anticipate that the total bill will still be astronomical.

“Four new blocks would probably add another two trillion to the state debt, which is currently 3.2 trillion koruna,” Capitalinked analyst Radim Dohnal told Novinky and Právo. He estimates the price of one block to be at least 400 billion koruna at current prices, which will continue to rise.

ČEZ minority shareholder Michal Šnobr expects a much more significant sum. He pointed to the current construction of two EDF blocks in Hinkley Point, UK. There, the French company is asking the British government for a guarantee for a further price increase, which is now expected to reach 46 billion pounds (1.34 trillion koruna). Therefore, one block is expected to cost more than 670 billion koruna, double the original price from 2015.

Datarun data economist Petr Barton calculates domestic costs of two trillion koruna. “The French block in England will eventually cost over 666 billion if it does not become even more expensive in the following years. Even if someone wanted to argue that Czech concrete workers are somewhat cheaper, even after a quantity discount, four blocks in the Czech Republic would start somewhere around two thousand billion,” Barton told Novinky and Právo.