We took part in a panel discussion at the Nuclear Conference 2023

We took part in a panel discussion at the Nuclear Conference 2023

The first week of October traditionally belongs to nuclear power. Clarion Congress Hotel Prague hosted the Nuclear Conference for the third time, this time with the subtitle New Nuclear Builds.

The theme was in the spirit of the tender for the completion of the new nuclear unit at Dukovany and the approaching deadline for the submission of bids at the end of October this year. The expected presentations therefore undoubtedly included presentations by the top representatives of all three bidders, during which each presented the offered technology and its advantages for the Czech Republic.

Czech companies also represented a significant part of the conference. Our colleague František Kural, ZAT's Director of Development for New Nuclear Sources, spoke on a panel focused on the supplier engineering sector. At the beginning of the session, Josef Perlík, Executive Director of the Czech Power Industry Alliance, presented the capabilities of Czech engineering companies and their competences in supplying the nuclear sector. He stressed that it is currently a priority to meet the deadlines set in the tender. "The deadline for submission of tenders has been changed twice already. In order to be able to build the unit within the set time, we cannot afford any more delays," Perlík stressed. The Czech supply sector has also repeatedly warned that unless the exact scope of the Czech companies' deliveries is known and whether one or more units will be built, it is very difficult for them to allocate both human and production resources needed to secure the contract.

According to the representatives of the Czech industry, the approach of the applicants is equally important. When asked by the presenter Martina Kociánová what would you need from bidders for the completion at this stage, František Kural replied: "It's not just about our company, it's about the preparation of all Czech subcontractors and the need to support the education system."

The next question was about competences and whether the Czech contractors were able to maintain them. According to František Kural, they certainly did. He cited the example of ZAT, which has built up considerable experience in both new supplies and the modernisation of existing control systems over the company's more than 40 years on the market in the nuclear power engineering. "We have certified products and know-how for supply and service for the highest safety categories and have successfully supplied them to eight countries worldwide," František Kural explained.

More than half of the conference topics were under the auspices of the Czech Power Industry Alliance, of which ZAT is a founding member. Presentations were also made by Tomáš Ehler, Deputy Chief Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Karel Vinkler, Director of the Strategy Section of CEPS, Jiří Nouza, President of the Association of Construction Entrepreneurs and Tomáš Kovalovský, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Czech Nuclear Association.

At the end of the meeting, a fruitful political discussion was held with leading politicians from both chambers of the Czech Parliament and representatives of the corporate sector. All declared the need to build at least four nuclear units in combination with small modular reactors. With an appeal on behalf of the supply sector - also within the deadlines set.