Korea needs to bolster ties with Czech firms to win nuclear plant project

Petr Tresnak, deputy minister of industry and trade of the Czech Republic, speaks during an interview with The Korea Times at the Czech Embassy in Seoul, Wednesday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

Korea should enable Czech companies to enjoy benefits from its potential nuclear power plant construction project in the Czech Republic, not just offer a lower price to outbid France for the 30 trillion won ($22 billion) project, according to a senior government official from the Central European country.Petr Tresnak, deputy minister of industry and trade of the Czech Republic, told The Korea Times that his government will also evaluate the bidders in terms of their partnerships with local companies, not only from an economic, safety and technical point of view.“There are other aspects which can be evaluated in the bidding process, such as Czech companies’ participation in the project and a bidder’s partnership with them in R&D and education,” he said during an interview at the Czech Embassy in Seoul, Wednesday.Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), a state-owned nuclear power plant operator that tendered for the project, has sought to boost ties with Czech companies and local communities, after the Czech government decided to pursue the construction of a new nuclear power plant in 2016.

Doosan Enerbility, one of the Korean partners of KHNP for the project, vowed to source components for new nuclear power plants from its Czech subsidiary and multiple other local equipment makers. It made the pledge during its Partnership Day event earlier this month, which was also attended by the deputy minister.These efforts led some in the Czech media to expect KHNP to beat its competitor, EDF, a French government-owned electric utility company. The Korean government has also maintained an optimistic outlook, saying that Korea is the only nation that can build high-quality nuclear power plants on time and on budget.Tresnak, who is also a nuclear engineer, acknowledged Korea as a country possessing know-how in the nuclear industry and Doosan as an important partner for his country and companies there.However, he remained cautious about predicting the preferred bidder that will be announced on July 15.“It will be quite 슬롯사이트 clear a month later,” he said.

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