Korean companies sign nuclear power-related MOUs in Czech Republic
Korean and Czech Republic companies signed a series of preliminary agreements related to nuclear and hydrogen power, and the governments of the two countries discussed cooperation in these areas, during the visit of Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang to Prague.
Lee, who was in the city on June 28 and 29, met with Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Sikela and Senate President Milos Vystrcil and pitched Korean nuclear power, saying it was competitive and citing the successful completion of the Barakah power project in the United Arab Emirates.
"The new Korean government plans to increase the utilization of nuclear energy in achieving carbon neutrality while strengthening energy security," Lee said, according to the ministry. "As a nuclear power plant is a long-term project, which takes a minimum of 10 years to construct and is in operation for a minimum of 60 years, it needs a credible partner that guarantees economic value, the construction schedule and safety."
During the visit of the minister, state-owned Korea Nuclear & Hydro Power signed memoranda of understanding with ZVVZ, Chemcomex, ABO Valve and the Czech Technical University, Korea Electronic Power Corp. E&C signed MOUs with TES and DMS and Doosan Enerbility signed preliminary agreements with Skoda JS.
Korean companies are competing against U.S. and French companies for the contract to build Czech Republic's first nuclear power plant, a 1,200-megawatt project in Dukovany estimated to cost over $6 billion. The bidding deadline is set for November, with the final agreement to be signed in 2024.
Sikela welcomed Korea's participation in the Czech Republic's nuclear project, stressing that the Czech government also considers nuclear energy an important energy source, the Korean ministry said.
The two governments discussed next-generation nuclear reactors, commercialization of nuclear power and working together on marketing nuclear power projects globally.
President Yoon Seok-yeol, currently in Madrid for the NATO Summit, is to meet with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala on Thursday.
Korea is also vying to construct six nuclear power plants in Poland with 6,000 to 9,000 megawatts of capacity, a project costing at least $40 billion. If Korea is picked, it would be its first successful win of a full nuclear plant project since the United Arab Emirates nuclear deal was signed in 2009.
The Yoon government has been aggressively expanding global cooperation. U.S. President Joe Biden agreed last month that the United States and Korea should work together on nuclear power and semiconductors.
Not long after Biden's visit, Westinghouse CEO Patrick Fragman visited Seoul, meeting with the Korean government, Korea Electric Power Corp. and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. It was the first visit by the U.S. nuclear power company's CEO since 2019.
The Ukraine crisis has increased the role of nuclear energy. As Russia's natural gas supply is being restricted, some countries in Europe have had to resort to coal, which is likely to complicate carbon reduction efforts.
Hydrogen power was also discussed in Prague.
Hyundai Motor, 13 Korea companies and institutions and Czech companies and institutions, including Zebra Group and Orlen Unipetrol, agreed to create a hydrogen supply network in the Czech Republic.
Korea and the Czech Republic will exchange information on hydrogen energy, cooperate in hydrogen mobility production and testing and establish charging stations.
Hyundai Motor signed an agreement with the Zebra Group to supply a hydrogen fuel-cell system and related technology in the development of small multipurpose commercial vehicles.
The company has a plant in Czech Republic, its largest and most advanced production line on the continent, with annual production capacity of 350,000 units.
Zebra Group is a Czech company specializing in multipurpose commercial vehicle, while Orlen Unipetrol produces and distribute fuel and petrochemical goods.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [email@example.com]