South Korea to step up efforts to win Czech nuclear power plant project


SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) – The South Korean Ministry of Industry said on Saturday that it will spare no effort to win a nuclear power plant project from the Czech Republic, as the European country is ready to have the # 4 economy in Asia as a potential partner.

The remark came after Industry Minister Moon Sung-wook visited the European nation, where he met Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Friday (Czech time) to discuss the two countries’ possible cooperation in the segment of nuclear energy.

During the meeting, Babis stressed that South Korean companies should have no obstacles in participating in the bid, compared to those in China or Russia which face security risks from opposition parties in the Republic. Czech, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The Czech Republic plans to build an additional reactor in the southern region of Dukovany. The official tendering process is expected to begin in 2022, with construction scheduled to begin in 2029.

The ministry said the size of the project is estimated to be around 8 trillion won ($ 7 billion). Currently, the United States and France are also eyeing the project.

Moon also invited Babis to travel to South Korea to visit the country’s nuclear reactors.

Asia’s No.4 economy has built 27 nuclear reactors so far, including one in the United Arab Emirates. Seven more are under construction.

In 2009, a South Korean consortium won a contract to build four nuclear reactors at Barakah, 270 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi. The first reactor started commercial operation in April.

South Korea is striving to penetrate the overseas nuclear power market deeper, alongside efforts to find new demand, as it slowly reduces its local dependence on nuclear power plants.

As part of the so-called nuclear phase-out plan, South Korea is expected to reduce the number of operating nuclear power plants to 17 by 2034, from 24 this year.

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