Estimates of costs of new Temelín vary greatly

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two reactors for CZK 80 billion or for 353 billion?

Temelín - Czech energy giant ČEZ wants to expand the Temelín nuclear power plant with building two new reactors by 2013 but has not published the costs of the project yet.

"The costs of the Temelín expansion may be published only after the contract is signed," explains ČEZ´s web site. Ministry of Environment has already received a study on the impact the two new reactors will have on the environment. The ministry was asked by ČEZ to evaluate this question. "Expanding the Temelín power plant will meet the growing demand for energy in the Czech Republic and will create a sufficient reserve," claims ČEZ. Now, a public discussion on the issue is expected to emerge.

According to the original plans from the 1980s, Temelín was expected to have four reactors. However, at the beginning of the 1990s the government decided only two would be constructed. The construction costs were CZK 97 billion (EUR 4 billion).

First estimates
Last year, the Czech Association of Construction Enterpreneurs presented the first estimates of the original plan to build four reactors. According to the organization, two additional blocks should cost CZK 80 billion (EUR 3.3 billion). ČEZ as well as economic experts claimed then that the sum of CZK 80 billion is a gross underestimation. The association eventually admitted that the sum could reach CZK 100 billion.

The most expensive Czech project?
Referring to international rating agencies, environment movement called Duha (Rainbow) claims that the project will cost CZK 353 billion. ČEZ plans to build reactors generating 3,400 megawatts. In May, Moody's agency estimated that given current prices, costs would be USD 1,000 for each kilowatt installed.

"If estimates of the Moody's are to be valid, next Temelín will be the most expensive building in the Czech history," assured Martin Sedlák from the Duha movement.

Up until now ČEZ has avoided any cost estimates. "With regard to market competition principles, it is not possible to estimate or specify expected cost," explains the spokesman of the company Ladislav Kříž.

To satisfy the growing demand
The company promises that the costs will not have any influence on the prices of electricity. The firm that profited CZK 43 billion last year is going use their own funds on the project.

ČEZ sees its project as an ideal solution for the energy "hunger" that is allegedly to hit the country around 2015.

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