South Korean firms vie for nuclear contracts in Central Europe

30 August, Week 34, Issue 925

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) has teamed up with fellow South Korean firms Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to bid for nuclear power plant (NPP) projects in Poland and the Czech Republic. According to Daewoo, the trio have set up a consortium specifically to win business in the two countries.

KHNP’s president, Chung Jae-hoon, held talks in Prague earlier this month with Czech government officials on its potential role in nuclear developments.

“The Czech Republic is the market that KHNP considers to be a bridgehead for the advance into Eastern Europe,” he said. “It will not be an easy challenge, but we will mobilise all our capabilities.”

The Czech government is currently weighing up financing options for the construction of one or more reactors to replace ageing capacity at the Dukovany NPP. State power group CEZ has refused to invest in the project without state support, but Prague has resisted the option. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has said it wants to see a final decision taken on the issue this year.

Poland, meanwhile, mooted plans late last year to build as many as four nuclear reactors by 2040, although the project has since lost momentum. State-controlled PGE abandoned its leading role in the venture in May in favour of developing offshore wind farms.

 

Credentials

KHNP operates 24 NPP units, with a further eight under construction in South Korea, the world’s fifth biggest user of nuclear power. In October last year, modifications made to KHNP’s APR-1400 reactor design were approved by European regulators, opening the door for the company to export reactors to the continent.

In a statement on August 29, Daewoo said it had been selected by KHNP to join the group after a week-long screening process.

“Despite a weak business foundation in Europe compared to our rivals, we received high points of the business development plan,” it said, noting that this demonstrated the confidence in its construction capabilities.

Daewoo has taken part in several NPP projects in South Korea. It helped build the third and fourth units of the Wolsong NPP in the 1990s, and later the first two units of the Shin Wolsong station, which were commissioned in 2012 and 2015 respectively. But the company’s experience outside South Korea is limited to a research and training reactor it completed in Jordan and involvement in a stalled two-unit project in Taiwan.

Moving forward, however, Daewoo is looking to bid in nuclear tenders across Europe and the Middle East.

Doosan has also worked on several NPP projects, but exclusively in South Korea.

Joseph Murphy

Edited by

Joseph Murphy

Editor

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