Prague/Ceske Budejovice - Many politicians across the political spectrum label today´s decision of company CEZ to cancel the tender for nuclear power plant Temelin´s enlargement as logical and expected.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrat, CSSD) understands the economic context of the decision and Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrat, KDU-CSL) thinks that the step follows the government´s Wednesday decision not to provide any state guarantees for the development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic.
Former industry and trade minister Martin Kuba (Civic Democrat, ODS) is of the opinion that the move is a mistake.
"I acknowledge today´s decision of CEZ´s board and understand its economic context, in particular in connection with the development of market prices of electricity," Sobotka wrote to CTK today.
"However, it cannot be expected that the Czech Republic could be without nuclear energy in the future, in particular if it is to keep its pledges to cut carbon dioxide emissions," he added.
"So a fundamental debate of experts is ahead of us on when and under what conditions the nuclear sources will be built, including ideas concerning [nuclear power plant] Dukovany," Sobotka remarked.
However, Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek (CSSD) said today he was not pleased about the tender´s cancellation. The project would have helped create new jobs, he said.
Mladek can imagine a new smaller tender within five years. However, he realises that due to low electricity prices, CEZ might be unwilling to take the step.
The draft of the updated state energy strategy still counts on the development of nuclear energy but, according to the government´s Wednesday decision, without any type of state guarantee.
The Industry and Trade Ministry together with Finance Minister Andrej Babis are to prepare a complex plan for the development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic, Mladek said in a statement.
Sobotka and Babis have shown that they are not interested in the future of the Czech energy sector, Czech economy and the Czech Republic, Kuba said.
Opposition TOP 09 has a different opinion. "The step of CEZ´s board of directors is logical at a moment when the situation on the energy market offers no hope that the investment would return," TOP 09 vice-chairman Miroslav Kalousek told CTK.
Kalousek agrees also with the government´s stance that potential state guarantees for electricity prices would burden the state budget.
The Greens, as expected, welcomed the tender´s cancellation. Their chairman Ondrej Liska thinks that further development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic is unprofitable.
If the government strives for Temelin´s enlargement in the future, it will have to find a different scheme for guarantees, said the Communists (KSCM) vice-chairman Jiri Dolejs, adding that the state could be the direct investor.
Jiri Zimola, the governor of region Jihocesky where Temelin is located, said that the tender´s cancellation would change the region´s framework contract with CEZ which has guaranteed a Kc4bn compensation in the horizon of ten years. CEZ started to fulfil the agreement in 2009.
"Both sides see the contract as a gentlemen agreement right from the start. It clearly said that if the Jihocesky region does not take active steps to prevent Temelin´s enlargement, it should benefit from it is some way," Zimola told CTK.