Korea, France to compete for $22 bn nuclear reactor project

2024.02.02 11:59:01 | 2024.02.02 15:31:30

Czech Nuclear [Photo by AP]이미지 확대

Czech Nuclear [Photo by AP]

The bidding competition for the Dukovany nuclear power station has evolved into a head-to-head battle between South Korea and France after the U.S. pullout from the Czech nuclear plant initiative. The competition also took a new turn as the Czech government opted to expand the project by building up to four nuclear reactors instead of one, which increased the estimated cost to 30 trillion won ($22.5 billion).

Three companies, including U.S. firm Westinghouse, France’s EDF and South Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) Co., had submitted bids to build one reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power station by 2036. But the Czech government said on Wednesday that Westinghouse’s bid did not meet the tender conditions, with Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela saying EDF and KHNP were asked to submit new bids by April 15th, 2024, to ensure assessment of their bids will be completed by the end of May.

In the meantime, Korea will step up its efforts to develop next-generation advanced small module reactors (SMR), one of the country’s strategic technological fields. The Korean government unveiled a plan for achieving self-sufficiency in five core technologies, including next-generation reactors, space satellites, and advanced robots, on Thursday. The plan involves obtaining standard design approval for SMRs by 2028 and accelerating commercialization by reducing production periods by 50 percent compared to traditional large nuclear power plants.

By Hong Hae-jin, Ko Jae-won, and Han Yubin

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