23:11 GMT02 July 2020
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    Chinese firms seek to get an order for the construction of new nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic, a move that raises concerns among European countries, reports say. In an interview with Sputnik Czech Republic, Director General of the Russian National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov commented on the issue.

    According to Hospodářské Noviny newspaper, Chinese companies are willing to take up the construction of new reactors only on the condition that the Czech government will grant China a corresponding order without a tender. However, Simonov doubts that such scenario is possible.

    "I strongly doubt that the Chinese will receive it just like that, without a tender. Surely they will try to lure the Czechs with their price offers. But China is not a flagship in the nuclear sphere, where the question of responsibility is very serious," Simonov told Sputnik Ceska Pepublika.

    "This is not a vehicle that can just be recalled if there is a problem. If there are problems with the Chinese reactor, Europe will feel it immediately, and Austria in particular. That is why, in my opinion, Brussels won't stay on the sidelines in this case: it will exert a lot of pressure on Prague so that it doesn't get seduced by the Chinese proposal," the expert added.

    China expressed its interest in the project along with Russian "Rosatom", American-Japanese "Westinghouse" and French "Areva". The emergence of China among the contenders in "such a rough, un-European way" is being used by the Czech Republic to pressure other candidates, the expert stated.

    "By announcing their plans to complete the construction of Dukovany plant, the Czechs started a clever game. They have received several proposals and then thrown on the table the ‘Chinese trump card' in order to pressure the Russians, the French and the Americans. They say, look, here we have the Chinese proposal. It will cost us only two pennies. Now, guys, lower your price," Simonov explained.

    According to Simonov, however, such behavior is just a game that has little to do with reality. After Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear power plants are considered potentially dangerous. Therefore, European politicians want silently look at how inexperienced Chinese companies build a nuclear plant on their continent.

    "First of all there would be a scandal within the Czech Republic. Then it will cause a stir in Brussels: everyone in Europe will start asking what kind of a reactor the Chinese, who, let's be honest, are not famous for their great technology in the field of nuclear energy, are building in the Czech Republic. I think that the Czech government is well aware of this conflict," the expert said, adding that the Czechs won't risk it all even for the sake of very low prices.


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    construction, nuclear power plant, China, Czech Republic
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