The Czech Republic is the latest country to move to remove Chinese companies from critical infrastructure projects, due to national security concerns.
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Following a 2019 decision to ban Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE from participating in 5G telecommunications networks, political parties in the Czech Republic have recently agreed to remove Chinese companies from Bidding for a new nuclear power plant project.
The Chinese Embassy in the Czech Republic said they were “extremely concerned” and “strongly opposed” by lawmakers in Prague’s latest decision.
The Czech Republic is planning to build a new nuclear power plant to replace the old one at the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. This new project is expected to be underway from 2035 to 2037.
In 2019, the government of the Czech Republic approved the above project for the first time, and empowered the current owner and operator of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant to be the CEZ group to manage the bidding of the project. new. CEZ is the largest public utility company in central and eastern Europe, in which the Czech government holds 70% of the shares.
According to public documents, the cost of building a new nuclear power plant will fall to at least $ 7.2 billion and once operational it will have a capacity of 1,200 megawatts. This is the largest infrastructure project in the Czech Republic for many decades.
In January 2020, five companies expressed interest in this project, including: Westinghouse of the US, EDF of France, KHNP of South Korea, Rosatom of Russia and China Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN). .
CGN is an energy company owned by the Chinese state. It is one of the three largest nuclear power operators in China.
The Chinese government established CGN to build the country’s first modern nuclear power plant – the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant – in 1994.
The Chinese central government has outlined how CGN entered into a partnership agreement with French energy company Areva to “transfer” the third generation reactor technology needed to build the Power Plant. Daya Bay Nuclear, as well as other nuclear power plants in China. EDF acquired Areva in 2017.
Over the past few years, many countries have begun to be wary about doing business with Chinese companies, because they are concerned about transferring sensitive technology.
In August 2019, CGN was listed by the US government as a “list of entities” after it was “identified by Washington as having acted contrary to US national security and policy interests.” “, According to the US Commerce Department’s statement at the time.
Companies listed on the “entity list” will not be allowed to do business with US suppliers, if they do not obtain a US government license.
In June 2020, Romania’s national nuclear power producer Nuclearelectrica also issued a similar announcement terminating negotiations with CGN on two new nuclear power reactors, after Romania’s Ministry of Economy citing national security concerns.
At the time in the Czech Republic, its lawmakers were also discussing whether to exclude Russian company Rosatom and Chinese CGN from the new nuclear power project due to national security risks.
On January 27, 2021, political parties in the Czech Republic agreed that CGN and Chinese nuclear power operators should not participate in the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant project. As of this writing, Czech lawmakers are still in the middle of discussing whether to exclude Russian companies from Prague’s nuclear power projects.
Duc Thien (According to The Epoch Times)