Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) - More Czechs support the growth of nuclear energy in the country, now favoured by 72 percent, up by 4 percentage points as against May this year, according to a survey of 500 respondents conducted in late October and early November by the IBRS agency.
The rising support is due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis, IBRS representatives said in a press release.
Nuclear energy development last registered such levels of support (71 percent) in 2009, when semi-state energy group CEZ launched a tender for the completion of two units of the Temelin nuclear power plant, subsequently cancelled in 2014.
Czechs are also increasingly in favour of the country's energy production self-sufficiency, supported by 97 percent, the survey found.
Nearly eight out of ten respondents think Czechia's energy self-sufficiency is influenced by the war in Ukraine, and 75 percent are worried about disruptions in gas supplies from Russia, IBRS executive Milos Rybacek said.
"Recently, there has been a major rise in the opinion that the future of Czechia's energy lies in the coexistence of nuclear power and renewable sources which are not dependent on fossil fuel supplies from Russia," Rybacek added.
A total of 56 percent of respondents are now in favour of both nuclear and renewable energy growth, an increase of 10 percentage points compared to the spring of 2022, according to Rybacek.
The higher support of nuclear power development is also evident in the general agreement with the government's proposals for the support of nuclear energy, embraced by 84 percent of respondents.
The Industry and Trade Ministry is preparing documents for decision-making on the potential construction of more units at the Czech nuclear power plants, deputy industry minister Tomas Ehler said at the start of November.
Those could supplement a new unit in Dukovany whose supplier is being selected in a tender process launched by CEZ in mid-March this year. CEZ should receive the first bids from three candidates by the end of November.
Dukovany's new unit has attracted interest from US company Westinghouse, France's EdF and South Korean KHNP, with the deadline for final bids set for the end of next year and a contract with the tender's winner to be signed by the end of 2024.
Construction of the unit should start in 2029, with trial operation to be launched in 2036.
As of now, Czechia has six nuclear units at two power plants. Temelin has two units with a capacity of approximately 1,000 megawatts (MW) each. Dukovany has four 510 MW units.
Dukovany's original four units started operation in the period from 1985 to 1987, with a projected 30 years' lifetime. CEZ now expects them to run for 60 years.
Nuclear power plants account for about one third of all electricity generated in Czechia.