by Oleg Nekhai
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Dec 05, 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her European tour with visiting the Czech Republic. The main aim of her talks in Prague is lobbying the bid of the Japanese-US Westinghouse company for the construction of two power blocks of the Temelin NPP. Westinghouse's only rival is the MIR.1200 consortium representing Czech Skoda and Russian Atomstroyexport. Westinghouse is a very serious rival possessing high technology.
However, the Russian-Czech consortium has every chance of winning this competition, experts say. The MIR.1200 consortium offers a water-moderated energy reactor (WWER) with a capacity of 1,200 megawatt for the Temelin NPP.
It is an updated version of installations that are already used at that plant. The new reactor has a larger capacity and also provides an improved safety system.
It stipulates a melt trap and an unmanned heat removal system. All this increases the chances of the Russian-Czech company, expert Alexander Pasechnik from the National Energy Safety Foundation says.
"Atomstroyexport works in tandem with the Czech company which means that Czechs themselves are interested in choosing the Russian-Czech joint venture because from the viewpoint of the national interests it would be unreasonable to give away this huge construction to an outsider.
Russia's second advantage is that the Temelin NPP was built with the participation of the USSR, which means that there is a certain technological base and it would be logical for Russia to serve all the four blocks."
Announcer: For the Czech partner participation in the project would mean large contracts. In addition, cooperation in the nuclear field would boost the entire Czech economy because the investments will reach $15bln by 2025 when the project expires, the expert points out.
Considering the growth of the country's energy consumption, the fulfilment of the project would increase the country's energy safety. For Russia it is also important to win the tender for preserving its positions on the market of water-moderated energy reactors, well-known nuclear physicist Bulat Nigmatullin says.
"This is a decisive moment for us because our two WWER-1000 units have already been manufactured and function successfully at the Temelin NPP. The problem is that the reactor section of the Russian reactor requires a little more equipment.
"On the other hand, our advantage is that our WWER-1000 were made by Skoda. We intend to manufacture 70% of the reactor equipment on Czech territory, which entails almost a 7bln euros commission for Czech factories. Of course, I believe that Americans make similar offers."
By and large, the Russian and American reactors are on the same technological and safety levels, Director of the Energy Development Foundation Sergey Pikin says. He believes that other factors will influence the choice of the Czech authorities.
"The main factors would be the balance between the price policy and the political situation in the Czech Republic. The Czech government would proceed from economic benefits. Preferences based on political notions alone would cost Prague too much."
Chances are this week will already bring the news which bidder will build the Temelin NPP's third and fourth power blocks.
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