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Czech nuclear regulator gives go-ahead for power plant expansion

The Czech nuclear regulator has cleared the way for the construction of up to two new reactor units at the Dukovany nuclear power plant site.

The Czech nuclear regulator has cleared the way for the construction of up to two new reactor units at the Dukovany nuclear power plant site.

The authority SUJB issued a permit on Monday after 12 months of assessment according to the Atomic Energy Act. There were no facts that would have stood in the way, the head of the authority, nuclear physicist Dana Drabova, announced.

Dukovany is located almost 100 kilometres north of the Austrian capital, Vienna, and about 200 kilometres east of the German city of Passau.

Currently, four reactor units which are more than 30 years old and with a total nominal output of 2,040 megawatts are in operation there.

According to the government’s plans, the first new reactor is to be connected to the grid between 2035 and 2037. The costs for this are estimated at up to 7.5 billion euros (8.9 billion dollars). The contract has not yet been awarded.

Environmentalists – especially from nearby Austria – have long been sharply critical of the expansion plans. They consider the plant’s safety provisions in case of earthquakes to be inadequate and call for a switch to renewable energy sources.

The Dukovany nuclear power plant currently covers about one-fifth of Czech electricity consumption. The government in Prague wants to increase the share of nuclear power in the electricity mix to more than half by 2040.

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