Czech Republic Nuclear Engineering is a very complex field and as the consumption of electricity is still growing, nuclear plants can be considered as a reliable and environmentally friendly source of electricity.
As a student of KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) located in Shin Kori NPP area, I am glad to experience international environment together with specialized field of study closely connected with practice. Therefore, I can see almost endless possibilities of international cooperation not only between Korea and Czechia but also other countries.
Korea, as one of the world's leaders in the nuclear industry, could be one of the potential suppliers of a new nuclear reactor for the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant located in the Czech Republic.
The Korean technology of APR reactors is at the top level, both in terms of technology and safety, and its supplier, KEPCO, is a very reliable contractor. An example from the present is the construction of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in the United Arab Emirates, which is being built by KEPCO.
We must acknowledge that this is the only current nuclear world project that has been built relatively on time and within budget. The biggest delay was due to the operation readiness of Nawah staff.
Other projects that are being built in Europe, such as Flamanville 3, Olkiluoto 3 or Mochovce 3 & 4 are experiencing massive delay and are out of budget.
The estimated cost of Barakah plant is around $4,500 per kW of installed capacity. Therefore, I consider the estimated price of new reactor in Dukovany, approximately around $7,500 per kW of installed capacity, not that unrealistic as some critics say. The construction of the power plant itself is only the beginning.
The Czech-Korean project may have greater consequences than it may seem at first glance. The construction of a power plant is a long-term process that requires involvement of many companies, both Czech and Korean. The Czech Republic has many great companies operating in the nuclear industry, such as ŠKODA JS a.s., TES s.r.o., ZAT a.s., I&C Energo a.s. and more.
And Czech nuclear research is also world-class, especially thanks to the research institute in Řež near Prague and the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering in Prague, which even has its own school research reactor.
The same is also for Korea, for example companies that belong to KEPCO, such as KHNP, KEPCO E&C, KEPCO NF, and of course, research institutions, such as famous KAERI.
The construction of a new reactor would thus support many local companies and establish a strong position in the nuclear industry. Not only that, active support of nuclear science and research is also important to sustain nuclear know-how for the future. But the collaboration is not just about nuclear companies.
New infrastructure, roads, power lines and more will be needed, which will bring work opportunities to construction companies and other suppliers. New cars will also be needed, and the Korean Kia and Hyundai are one of the most popular brands in the Czech Republic. Workers will need technology, such as mobile phones that Samsung or LG can provide.
A regular airline between Seoul and Prague could also be renewed, not only for business purposes but also for tourism, as Prague is a very popular destination for Koreans. In addition, barbecue is a popular leisure activity of the Czechs, so the expansion of Korean barbecue would certainly be a great success too.
It is now more than clear that the contract for a new reactor is not just about the nuclear. To achieve carbon neutrality, the Czech Republic plans to shut down coal power plants. The new nuclear power plant would thus be a suitable replacement, a green source of electricity that will ensure the supply of clean energy and would ensure the energy security of the Czech Republic.
Security of electricity supply and joint economic growth are thus the main goals of Czech-Korean cooperation.
The writer, Mr. Jan Hruskovic, is a master’s student of Nuclear Power Plant Engineering at KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School. The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Seoul has kindly arranged for Mr. Jan Hruskovic to write the article in response to our encouragement program for the international students in Korea to share their views with our readers in Korea and around the world.