Reasons for completion
Primary reasons for completion
Electricity consumption is constantly growing throughout the world and we can hardly assume that the situation will not be the same in Europe or the Czech Republic. In spite of complex renewal projects and new construction of coal-fired and gas power plants in the Czech Republic and its neighbouring countries, it is already apparent that there will be a lack of electricity production capacities.
The lacking volume of electricity can be, theoretically, covered by imports from abroad. However, current analysis shows that due to growing demand for electricity in Europe and the fact that many European countries are coping with the problem of replacing plants coming to the end of their life span and those which are closed down, it will be very uncertain to buy electricity from foreign countries in the future.
Possible electricity shortages in the market would lead to a significant increase in its price. If we want the Czech Republic to remain self-sufficient in electricity production and not to depend on its imports, it is necessary to start constructing new production resources well in advance.
Further, it is obvious that the rapid economic growth the Czech Republic is experiencing now depends on the increased electricity consumption, as shown in the following chart.
Scenario of net domestic electricity consumption
Source: Tractebel, ČEZ, EGÚ Brno
Domestic production and consumption until 2040
Primary energy resources, both fossil and renewable, have a limited capacity and their operation is expensive primarily due to a significant growth in prices of oil and gas. Moreover in the coming years, the Czech Republic has to prepare for decreasing utilisable soft coal reserves (even if mining limits are increased). In the case of new coal-fired power plants, a risk of insecure business environment can also be mentioned, because the system of CO2 emission regulation is not yet stabilised in the long-term outlook.
Gas power plants, owing to their emission parameters (they emit approximately half the volume of CO2 when compared to coal-fired plants) and a relatively fast construction, represent a real possibility and CEZ is taking their construction into account. However, it is not appropriate to only use them to cover future consumption as the total costs highly depend on the price of fuel (natural gas) and suppliers.
Other capacities for electricity generation can only serve as supplement resources in the Czech Republic. Hydro resources account for less than 4 per cent of CEZ’s production, while it is not possible to increase their share by constructing new hydro power plants – there are no further suitable localities for them in the Czech Republic.
Renewable energy resources are thus far not economically competitive in most cases. Although they can secure part of the energy needs, the primary condition for them to be extended is technological development which would increase their effectiveness. Except for hydro-electric power plants they profit from subsidised state purchasing prices.
An increase in the domestic capacity of nuclear power plants will also help keep the country’s energy security and decrease its dependence on imports of energy resources from foreign countries in the future. Contrary to gas or oil supplies from less stable world areas, nuclear energy has the advantage of reliable fuel supplies for the plant. The world’s largest producers of uranium today are Canada and Australia, which are stable and traditionally democratic countries. Services related to fuel production are also diversified and they are provided by developed countries. Due to that, the completion of the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant will lead to lower dependence of the Czech Republic on energy resources from risky foreign territories and will help keep the country’s “energy security”.
There is a strong relationship between the economy and the energy industry. Future generations have an inalienable right to preserve or increase the dynamics of the economic development and the standard of living, as well as a right to have enough energy while preserving the environment. Both requirements of our future generations can be completely ensured by nuclear power plants.
Operation of a nuclear power plant does not depend on everyday fuel supplies and nuclear fuel can be easily stored. Nuclear fuel prices are not liable to sudden fluctuation, as like with gas or oil, so the economy of a nuclear power plant is easier to predict.
Nuclear power plants have enough capacity and are efficient to operate. Their big advantage is the fact that they do not produce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur or greenhouse gases. They provide reliable supplies of electrical current, which is essential for every area of our lives.
After consideration of all technical, economic, social, environmental factors and the strategy for sustainable development, nuclear power plants, unlike other available resources of electrical energy with a similar output, represent a suitable solution for the Czech Republic. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy resource construction can be inferred from comparisons of wholesale electricity prices for which it is economical to build a given type of plant. While the “on mine” price with coal-fired plants is roughly CZK 1 per kWh and even more with gas plants, with a nuclear power plant it is less than 70 hellers per kWh.
At the same time it is apparent that renewable resources, fossil fuels or the nuclear energy industry cannot meet future electricity needs independently. The present stage of the technical development requires simultaneously using and further improving all of these alternatives and, in parallel to that, preparing new alternative technologies whose implementation will result from serious technical and economic analyses. A mix of all energy resources appears to be the optimal solution.
Choice of locality
The original project of the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant has already been designed for four units. The investment project to build a plant in Temelín with the installed capacity of 4 x 1,000 MW was approved in February 1979. The first project was designed by Energoprojekt Praha in 1985 and the construction of operating buildings was commenced in 1987. After November 1989, under new political and economic conditions, a decision to reduce the number of units to two was made.
The locality appropriate for nuclear power plant construction is chosen according to geography, demography, metrology, hydrology, geology, hydrogeology, seismology, water resources, road and railroad links, suitability of the electrical grid and many other factors. The locality for the nuclear power plant construction is in accordance with SUJB Decree No. 215/1997. Important criteria include favourable population distribution, which would enable timely protection in the event of accident, absence of karst features, tectonic breaks, geodynamic processes, surface changes due to underground mining, important sources of underground water or mineral wealth.
The comparison of localities, which were considered as suitable sites for nuclear resource construction shows that costs needed to prepare the locality for construction are clearly the lowest in the case of Temelín.
Most supporting systems were originally built for four units in Temelín: systems for drinking and fire water, storm and waste sewage, railroad and road networks, a chemical water treatment system and a system for the source of so called crude water from the Vltava River and Hnevkovice reservoir. Building and communal waste will go to the Temelínec waste dump. The second part of the Kocin switching station, including the conduct of the output away from the station and duplicate power supply, will be finished as well. The completion will include an extension of the present system of physical and radiation protection at the plant.
The fact that the locality was chosen as the most suitable site for construction of a nuclear resource in a very complicated process speaks in favour of the completion of the Temelín Power Plant. At the same time, Temelín is stated as a site appropriate for construction of a nuclear resource even in the Territorial Review of the Czech Republic.
The choice of the present plant to become the site of the new production capacity seems to also be optimal due to the fact that not only our best operation experts work there, but also specialists in nuclear power plant construction.
Temelín became a solid part of the region already during its construction, launch and the commencement of its operation, and public polls confirm that the support for the completion of the plant is steadily increasing. According to an opinion poll carried out by STEM in March 2008, 64% of inhabitants living near Temelín agree with the development of the nuclear energy industry in the Czech Republic, and approximately the same share (65%) of respondents were in favour of the completion of the Temelín Power Plant. In comparison with previous years, the share of resolute opponents of nuclear energy utilisation and the completion of the Temelín Power Plant has significantly fallen. Roughly three quarters of inhabitants (77%) near the Temelín Power Plant regard this plant as comparable with modern nuclear power plants throughout the world.
The positive image of the Temelín Power Plant has strengthened a lot in comparison with previous local opinion polls. For the first time since 2000, when the regional polls around Temelín started to be carried out, more than a half of the local inhabitants (57%) evaluated the behaviour of the plant’s representatives as open towards the public, while over three fifths of people (64%) believe that Temelín is a good partner for the surrounding municipalities to work with on common projects.